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United States
Securities and Exchange Commission
Washington, D.C. 20549 
FORM 10-K 
Annual Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
(Mark one)
for the fiscal year ended December 26, 2020
Or
Transition Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 for the transition period from to
Commission file number 0-20388

LITTELFUSE, INC. 
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware36-3795742
(State or other jurisdiction of(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
incorporation or organization) 

8755 West Higgins Road Suite 500
Chicago, Illinois 60631
(Address of principal executive offices)

 773-628-1000
 (Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
 
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each ClassTrading SymbolName of Each Exchange On Which Registered
Common Stock, $0.01 par value LFUSNASDAQ
Global Select MarketSM

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes No  

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (Section 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes No
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “small reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act:
Large accelerated filerAccelerated filerNon-accelerated filerSmaller reporting companyEmerging growth company

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes No

The aggregate market value of 24,339,778 shares of voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $3,956,326,119 based on the last reported sale price of the registrant’s Common Stock as reported on the NASDAQ Global Select MarketSM on June 27, 2020.
 
As of February 12, 2021, the registrant had outstanding 24,537,415 shares of Common Stock, net of Treasury Shares. 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE 
Portions of the Littelfuse, Inc. Proxy Statement for the 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders (the “Proxy Statement”) are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Form 10-K.  


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FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
 
Certain statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K that are not historical facts are intended to constitute “forward-looking statements” entitled to the safe-harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (“PSRLA”). The Company cautions that forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made, are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, and actual results and outcomes may differ materially from those indicated or implied by the forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and other factors include, but are not limited to, risks and uncertainties relating to general economic conditions; the severity and duration of the coronavirus disease 2019 ("COVID-19") pandemic and the measures taken in response thereto and the effects of those items on the Company’s business; product demand and market acceptance; economic conditions; the impact of competitive products and pricing; product quality problems or product recalls; capacity and supply difficulties or constraints; coal mining exposures reserves; failure of an indemnification for environmental liability; exchange rate fluctuations; commodity price fluctuations; the effect of the Company's accounting policies; labor disputes; restructuring costs in excess of expectations; pension plan asset returns less than assumed; uncertainties related to political or regulatory changes; integration of acquisitions may not be achieved in a timely manner, or at all; and other risks that may be detailed in Item 1A. "Risk Factors" below and in the Company’s other Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
 
AVAILABLE INFORMATION
 
The Company is subject to the reporting and information requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended and as a result, are obligated to file annual, quarterly, and current reports, proxy statements, and other information with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The Company makes these filings available free of charge on its website (http://investor.littelfuse.com) as soon as reasonably practicable after it electronically files them with, or furnish them to, the SEC. Information on the Company’s website does not constitute part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. In addition, the SEC maintains a website (http://www.sec.gov) that contains the Company’s annual, quarterly, and current reports, proxy and information statements, and other information the Company electronically files with, or furnishes to, the SEC. The Company’s website and the information contained therein or connected thereto are not incorporated into this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
 
PART I
ITEM 1. BUSINESS.
 
GENERAL
 
Littelfuse, Inc., was incorporated under the laws of the State of Delaware in 1991. References herein to the “Company,” “we,” “our” or “Littelfuse” refer to Littelfuse, Inc. and its subsidiaries. References herein to “2020”, “fiscal 2020” or “fiscal year 2020” refer to the fiscal year ended December 26, 2020. References herein to “2019”, “fiscal 2019” or “fiscal year 2019” refer to the fiscal year ended December 28, 2019. References herein to “2018”, “fiscal 2018” or “fiscal year 2018” refer to the fiscal year ended December 29, 2018. The Company operates on a 52-53 week fiscal year (4-4-5 basis) ending on the Saturday closest to December 31.
 
OVERVIEW
 
Founded in 1927, Littelfuse is a global manufacturer of leading technologies in circuit protection, power control and sensing. Serving over 100,000 end customers, the Company’s products are found in a variety of transportation, industrial, and electronics end markets. With its broad product portfolio of fuses, semiconductors, polymers, ceramics, relays and sensors, and extensive global infrastructure, the Company’s worldwide associates partner with its customers to design, manufacture and deliver innovative, high-quality solutions for a safer, greener and increasingly connected world.
 
Segments
 
The Company conducts its business through three reportable segments: Electronics, Automotive, and Industrial. Within these segments, the Company designs, manufactures and sells components and modules for circuit protection, power control and sensing products throughout the world. The circuit protection products protect against electrostatic discharge, power surges, short circuits, voltage spikes and other harmful occurrences; our power control products safely and efficiently control power and improve productivity and our sensor products are used to identify and detect temperature, proximity, flow speed and fluid level in various applications. For segment and geographical information and consolidated net sales and operating income see Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and Note 16, Segment Information, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report.
 
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Electronics Segment: Consists of one of the broadest product offerings in the industry, including fuses and fuse accessories, positive temperature coefficient (“PTC”) resettable fuses, polymer electrostatic discharge (“ESD”) suppressors, varistors, reed switch based magnetic sensing, gas discharge tubes; semiconductor products such as discrete transient voltage suppressor (“TVS”) diodes, TVS diode arrays, protection and switching thyristors, metal-oxide-semiconductor field effect transistors (“MOSFETs”) and silicon carbide diodes; and insulated gate bipolar transistors (“IGBT”) technologies. The segment covers a broad range of end markets, including industrial motor drives and power conversion, automotive electronics, electric vehicle and related infrastructure, power supplies, data centers and telecommunications, medical devices, alternative energy, building and home automation, appliances, and mobile electronics.

Automotive Segment: Consists of a wide range of circuit protection, power control and sensing technologies for global original equipment manufacturers (“OEMs”), Tier-I suppliers and parts distributors in passenger car, heavy duty truck, off-road vehicles, material handling, agricultural, construction and other commercial vehicle end markets. Passenger car fuse products for internal combustion engine, hybrid and electric vehicles including blade fuses, battery cable protectors, resettable fuses, high-current fuses, and high-voltage fuses. Commercial vehicle products include fuses, switches, relays, and power distribution modules used in applications serving a number of end markets, including heavy truck, construction, agriculture and material handling. Automotive sensor products include a wide range of automotive and commercial vehicle products designed to monitor the passenger compartment occupant's safety and environment as well as the vehicle’s powertrain.

Industrial Segment: Consists of power fuses, protection relays and controls, temperature sensor and other circuit protection products for use in various industrial applications such as oil, gas, mining, renewables and energy storage, electric vehicle infrastructure, non-residential construction, HVAC systems, industrial safety, power conversion, elevators and other industrial equipment.

Strategy
 
The Company has entered the last year of its current five-year growth strategy which is defined below. As such, the Company will host a virtual investor and analyst event on February 23, 2021 to share the specific details of its new five-year strategic plan, which reinforces the Company’s continued commitment to profitable growth building on its achievements from its previous five-year plans.

In December 2016, the Company announced its five-year strategic plan. Building upon its achievements from its previous five-year plan and leveraging the global mega themes of safety, resource efficiency and connectivity, the Company is targeting an average annual accelerated organic growth of 5-7 percent and growth from strategic acquisitions of 5-7 percent. The Company’s strategic goals include growing its circuit protection, power control and sensor platforms. The Company expects to do this through content and share gains, targeting underpenetrated geographies and high-growth niche applications, leveraging investments in its people, innovations and operating systems, and capitalizing on growth opportunities where technologies and applications are converging across its segments, while continuing to acquire and integrate businesses that fit its strategic focus areas.
 
Recent Acquisitions 
Hartland Controls: On January 28, 2021, the Company acquired Hartland Controls, a manufacturer and leading supplier of electrical components used primarily in heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) and other industrial and control systems applications with annualized sales of approximately $70 million. The cash purchase price for Hartland Controls was approximately $113 million and the operations of Hartland Controls will be included in the Industrial segment.
 
IXYS Corporation: On January 17, 2018, the Company acquired IXYS corporation ("IXYS"), a global pioneer in the power semiconductor and integrated circuit markets with a focus on medium to high voltage power semiconductors across the industrial, communications, consumer and medical markets. IXYS had a broad customer base, serving more than 3,500 customers through its direct sales force and global distribution partners. The purchase price for IXYS was $856.5 million, which included consideration of cash, Littelfuse common stock, and the value of converted, or cash settled IXYS equity awards. The operations of IXYS are included in the Electronics segment.

U.S. Sensor: On July 7, 2017, the Company acquired the assets of U.S. Sensor Corporation (“U.S. Sensor”) for $24.3 million. U.S. Sensor manufactures a variety of high quality negative temperature coefficient thermistor probes and assemblies. The operations of U.S. Sensor are included in the Electronics segment.
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Monolith Semiconductor Inc.: On February 28, 2017, pursuant to a Securities Purchase Agreement between the Company and the stockholders of Monolith Semiconductor Inc. (“Monolith”), a U.S. start-up Company developing silicon carbide technology, the Company increased its investment in Monolith by acquiring approximately 62% of the outstanding common stock of Monolith for $15.0 million. During 2018, the Company acquired the remaining outstanding stock of Monolith for $9.0 million based on Monolith meeting certain technical and sales targets, and now owns 100% of Monolith. The operations of Monolith are currently included in the Industrial segment.
 
ON Portfolio: On August 29, 2016, the Company acquired certain assets of select businesses (the “ON Portfolio”) of ON Semiconductor Corporation for $104.0 million. The acquired business, which is included in the Electronics segment, consists of a product portfolio that includes transient voltage suppression (“TVS”) diodes, switching thyristors, and IGBTs for automotive ignition applications.
 
Menber’s: On April 4, 2016, the Company completed the acquisition of Menber’s S.p.A. (“Menber’s”) headquartered in Legnago, Italy for $19.2 million (net of cash acquired and after settlement of a working capital adjustment). The acquired business is part of the Company's commercial vehicle product business within the Automotive segment and specializes in the design, manufacturing, and selling of manual and electrical high current switches and trailer connectors for commercial vehicles.

PolySwitch: On March 25, 2016, the Company acquired 100% of the circuit protection business (“PolySwitch”) of TE Connectivity Ltd. for $348.3 million (net of cash acquired and after settlement of certain post-closing adjustments). The PolySwitch business, which is split between the Automotive and Electronics segments, has a leading position in polymer based resettable circuit protection devices.

Sales and Operations
 
The Company operates in three geographic regions: Asia-Pacific, the Americas, and Europe. The Company manufactures products and sells to customers in all three regions.
 
Net sales by segment for the periods indicated are as follows:
 
 Fiscal Year
(in millions)202020192018
Electronics$937.7 $961.1 $1,124.3 
Automotive395.8 428.5 479.8 
Industrial112.2 114.3 114.4 
Total$1,445.7 $1,503.9 $1,718.5 
 
Net sales in the Company’s three geographic regions, based upon the shipped-to destination, are as follows:
 
 Fiscal Year
(in millions)202020192018
Asia-Pacific$670.5 $656.8 $753.3 
Americas457.8 508.4 578.6 
Europe317.4 338.7 386.6 
Total$1,445.7 $1,503.9 $1,718.5 
 
The Company’s products are sold worldwide through distributors, direct sales forces and manufacturers’ representatives in certain regions. For the fiscal year 2020, approximately 73% of the Company’s net sales were to customers outside the United States (“U.S.”), including approximately 30% to China.
 
The Company manufactures many of its products on fully integrated manufacturing and assembly equipment. The Company maintains product quality through a Global Quality Management System with most manufacturing sites certified under ISO 9001:2000. In addition, several of the Littelfuse manufacturing sites are also certified under IATF 16949 and ISO 14001.
 
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Additional information regarding the Company’s sales by geographic area and long-lived assets in different geographic areas is in Note 16, Segment Information, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report.

BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT
 
Electronics Segment
 
The Company designs, develops and manufactures a wide range of components and modules that provide circuit protection, power control and sensing for a multitude of electronic, transportation and industrial applications. Circuit protection technologies in the Electronics Segment are designed to protect against harmful occurrences like voltage spikes, short circuits, power surges and electrostatic discharge. Products include fuses and fuse accessories, PTC resettable fuses, ESD suppressors, varistors, gas discharge tubes, semiconductor products such as discrete TVS diodes, TVS diode arrays, protection and switching thyristors, MOSFETs and silicon carbide diodes; and IGBT technologies.
 
The Company also offers a wide range of power control products used to convert and regulate energy and safely and efficiently control power across a broad spectrum of industrial applications like renewable energy and storage, motor drives and power conversion. Products include a comprehensive portfolio of semiconductor components and modules including thyristors, MOSFETs, rectifiers and fast recovery diodes, IGBTs and wide band gap devices. The 2018 acquisition of IXYS expanded the Company's power semiconductor portfolio in medium and high-power applications and technology expertise. The Company expects to continue to diversify and expand its presence within industrial electronics markets, leveraging the strong IXYS industrial OEM customer base.
 
As products become increasingly sophisticated, smarter and more connected, the need for complex sensor technologies continues to grow. Sensor products in the Electronics Segment are used in a wide variety of applications including appliances, building and home automation, industrial controls, and commercial vehicles.
 
Automotive Segment
 
The Company is a primary supplier of fuses and circuit protection technologies to global automotive OEMs, through sales made to Tier One automotive suppliers, main-fuse box, and wire harness manufacturers that incorporate the fuses into their products, as well as automotive component parts manufacturers, and automotive parts distributors. The Company also sells its fuses in the replacement parts market, with its products being sold through merchandisers, discount stores, and service stations, as well as under private label by national firms.
 
Circuit protection needs in the automotive space are expected to generate additional content-per-vehicle exceeding global auto production, with the ever-greater sophistication in electrical architecture and safety system, as well as market growth, development, and penetration of hybrid and electric vehicles.
 
The Company's automotive sensor business includes a wide range of automotive and commercial vehicle products designed to monitor passenger occupants, including comfort and convenience, safety and environment as well as applications in the vehicle’s powertrain. Products are primarily sold to Tier One automotive suppliers, primarily for use in passenger car applications.

The Company’s commercial vehicle business includes a variety of products including power distribution modules, low and high current switches, relays, battery management products, ignition key switches, and trailer connectors. These products are used in applications serving a number of end markets, including heavy truck, construction, agriculture and material handling. Products are sold directly to a mix of OEMs, Tier One suppliers, aftermarket channels, as well as through general distribution. The Company expects to grow its commercial vehicle business through expanding the end markets and geographies it serves, and by expanding its product portfolio through organic and inorganic investments.

 
Industrial Segment
 
The Company designs and sells a broad range of power fuses and holders, protection relays and controls, temperature sensors and other circuit protection products for use in various industrial applications such as oil and gas, mining, renewable and energy storage, electric vehicle and related infrastructure, non-residential construction, HVAC systems, industrial safety, power conversion. These products are used to protect personnel and equipment from excessive currents, over voltages, and electrical shock hazards.
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Products are sold through electrical distributors, electronics distribution channel partnerships and directly to OEM's. The Company expects to grow this business through expanding the end markets and geographies it serves, growing its sales through electronics distribution channel partnerships, and expanding its product portfolio through organic and inorganic investments.

PRODUCT DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT
 
The Company employs scientific, engineering, and other personnel to continually improve its existing product lines and to develop new products at its research, product design, and development (“R&D”) and engineering facilities with primary locations in China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, Philippines, Taiwan (China), United Kingdom, and the U.S. The Company maintains a staff of engineers, chemists, material scientists and technicians whose primary responsibility is to design and develop new products.
 
Proposals for the development of new products are initiated primarily by sales, marketing, and product management personnel with input from customers. The entire product development process usually ranges from a few months to a few years based on the complexity of development, with continuous efforts to reduce the development cycle. During fiscal years 2020, 2019, and 2018, the Company expended $52.5 million, $80.0 million, and $87.3 million, respectively, on R&D. 

PATENTS, TRADEMARKS, AND OTHER INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
 
The Company generally relies on patents, trademarks, licenses, and nondisclosure agreements to protect its intellectual property and proprietary products. In cases where it is deemed necessary by management, key employees are required to sign an agreement that they will maintain the confidentiality of the Company’s proprietary information and trade secrets.
 
The Company owns a large portfolio of patents worldwide and new products are continually being developed to replace older products. The Company regularly applies for patent protection on such new products. While, in the aggregate, the Company’s patents are important in the operation of its businesses, the Company believes that the loss by expiration or otherwise of any one patent or group of patents would not materially affect its business.
 
MANUFACTURING
 
The Company’s manufacturing facilities are in China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, Philippines, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The Company performs the majority of its own fabrication and maintains in-house capabilities for metal stamping, surface mount assembly, plating (silver, nickel, zinc, and oxides) and thermoplastic molding. In addition, the Company fabricates semiconductor wafers for certain applications and maintains in-house capability for epitaxy fabrication, die attach, and wafer probe testing. After sub-components are readied for assembly, final assembly is accomplished on fully automatic and semi-automatic assembly machines. Quality assurance and operations personnel, using techniques such as statistical process control, perform tests, checks and measurements during the production process to maintain the highest levels of product quality, including safety and reliability, and customer satisfaction. Additionally, the Company utilizes external wafer foundries and subcontracted test and assembly facilities for a portion of its semiconductor business.

The principal raw materials for the Company’s products include copper and copper alloys, heat-resistant plastics, zinc, melamine, glass, silver, gold, raw silicon, solder, and various gases. The Company uses a single source for several heat-resistant plastics and for zinc but has specifically identified capable alternative heat-resistant plastics and zinc sources. All other raw materials are purchased from a number of readily available outside sources.

SALES and MARKETING
 
The Company goes to market through selling organizations consisting of worldwide direct sales personnel, distribution partners and manufacturers’ representatives. The direct sales force closely works with global OEM, Tier One automotive, consulting engineers, and major end customers to design-in and sell all of the Company’s products. The distributors provide fulfillment for a majority of customers including those partnered with electronic manufacturing services ("EMS"). The Company has sales offices and direct sales channels in a number of countries around the world.
 
Electronics Segment
 
Our Electronics segment products are used across a variety of applications. While certain of our products require less design support for our customers, many of our products are incorporated into applications with complex design technical support requirements. Most Electronics segment products are sold through our direct salesforce or through our channel distribution
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partners. The fulfillment of these products is primarily through our broad line distribution partners, including global distributors such as Arrow Electronics, Inc., Future Electronics and TTI, Inc, regional and high service distributors, including Digi-Key and Mouser, as well as directly to OEM's..

Automotive Segment
 
The Company primarily uses a direct sales force to service all of the major automotive and commercial vehicle OEMs, system suppliers, and Tier One automotive and aftermarket customers globally. In selected areas, the Company also uses distributors to service smaller customers and to provide supply chain fulfillment for certain customers.

The Company also leverages its automotive customer relationships to sell products from the Electronics segment into automotive end markets, primarily to Tier One automotive customers. These revenues are reported in the Electronics segment.

Industrial Segment
 
The Company markets and sells through direct and indirect worldwide sales representatives. These products are primarily sold via electronic, electrical and industrial distribution channels to various end customers including electrical contractors, factories, municipalities, utilities and OEMs.
 
CUSTOMERS
 
The Company directly sells to over 6,000 customers and distributors worldwide. Sales to Arrow Electronics, Inc., which were reported in our Electronics, Automotive and Industrial segments, were 10.4%, 10.7% and 10.7% of consolidated net sales in 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively. No other single customer accounted for more than 10% of net sales during any of the last three years. During fiscal 2020, 2019, and 2018, net sales to customers outside the U.S. accounted for approximately 73%, 71%, and 70%, respectively, of the Company’s total net sales.

CYBERSECURITY

The Company relies on its information technology systems and networks in connection with many of its business activities. Some of these networks and systems are managed directly by the Company, while others are managed by third-party service providers and are not under the Company's day-to-day control. We oversee the services provided by the third-party service providers. We continually evaluate ourselves for appropriate business continuity and disaster recovery planning, with test scenarios that include simulations and penetration tests. Our networks are monitored by intrusion detection services, and our systems and applications are routinely tested for vulnerabilities and are operated with an appropriate patch management program. We employ a skilled IT workforce to implement our cybersecurity programs and to handle specific security responsibilities. Our IT workforce is trained to address security and compliance-related issues as they arise.
 
COMPETITION
 
The Company’s products compete with similar products of other manufacturers, some of which may have substantially greater financial resources than the Company. In the Electronics segment, the Company’s competitors include Eaton Corporation, Bourns Inc., TDK, ON Semiconductor Corporation, Infineon Technologies, STMicroelectronics NV, Semtech Corporation, and Vishay Intertechnology Inc. In the Automotive segment, the Company’s competitors include Eaton Corporation, Pacific Engineering, MTA (Meccanotecnica Codognese), CTS Corporation, Amphenol Corporation, Sensata Technologies Holding NV, and TE Connectivity Ltd. In the Industrial segment, the Company’s major competitors include Eaton Corporation, GE Multilin, and Mersen. The Company believes that it globally competes on the basis of innovative products, the breadth of its product line, the quality, design and performance of its products based on their reliability, consistency and safety, its technical capabilities and application expertise, and the responsiveness of its customer service.
 
BACKLOG
 
The backlog of unfilled orders at December 26, 2020 was approximately $709.9 million, compared to $477.6 million at December 28, 2019 with the increase primarily driven by the Electronics and Automotive segments. Substantially all the orders currently in backlog are scheduled for delivery in 2021.
 
HUMAN CAPITAL MANAGEMENT
 
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A passion for engineering excellence and an innovative spirit have been a part of what it means to work at Littelfuse since our founding in 1927. We hire bright minds who want to make a big impact and are committed to improve the safety, reliability and performance of our customers’ products. As our human capital is critical to our success, we strive to make Littelfuse a diverse, inclusive and safe workplace, provide competitive compensation, benefits, and health and wellness programs, offer appropriate training and promote community involvement.

Employee Data

At December 26, 2020, we had approximately 12,200 full-time, part-time and temporary employees; of which 54% are female and 46% are male; and of which 46%, 40% and 14% are located in North America, Asia and Europe, respectively. Approximately 25% of the Company’s total workforce was employed under collective bargaining agreements as of December 26, 2020. Overall, the Company has historically maintained satisfactory employee relations and considers employee relations to be good.

Core Values

Littelfuse core values – Customer Focus, Teamwork, Results Driven, Integrity and Innovation – guide conversations, decisions, and interactions for our business. Together, they are the foundation of our working relationships both internally and externally and we ask each of our associates to exemplify these high standards every day.

Diversity and Inclusion

As part of driving sustainable success, we seek out, value and celebrate diversity in every aspect of our work with customers, stakeholders, suppliers and each other. Our commitment to diversity and equity empowers our associates to innovate, deliver bold solutions and drive growth with the multifaceted insight that comes from true community. We believe that when everyone is included, everyone wins.

We recently formed a Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Council. The focus of the Council is to enhance the diversity across our stakeholders through bold solutions, to drive sustainable success across the company. In addition, we also have a number of employee resource groups, each sponsored by a member of our executive leadership team, that enhance our inclusive and diverse culture. One example is our Women’s Initiative Network (WiN). WiN was established to provide a forum to inspire and accelerate associate advancement and development through networking, mentoring, coaching and education.

Health, Safety and Wellness

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Littelfuse has prioritized the health and safety of our associates and their families. In an effort to protect the health and safety of our associates, the Company has taken proactive steps in our facilities globally to implement safety procedures including hygiene and disinfection protocols, social distancing, and providing personal protective equipment to associates. Littelfuse also sponsors certain wellness programs designed to help associates achieve physical, emotional, financial and work well-being goals.

Compensation and Benefits

We provide compensation and benefits programs designed to be both competitive and equitable, in order to attract, retain and motivate highly-qualified associates. The components of our compensation program vary by region and employee-type, and include items such as base salary, bonus, and health and wellness programs.

Training and Development

To deliver results for our customers, colleagues and stakeholders, we strive for continuous improvement and operational excellence. An important component of continuous improvement is providing our associates with appropriate training opportunities. Our training programs cover topics including job-skills, enterprise six-sigma, Lean manufacturing, and ethics and compliance. All global associates are required to take our annual Code of Conduct training, which is made available in local languages for our global workforce.

Community Involvement

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Littelfuse encourages and sponsors, as appropriate, employees to donate their time and other resources to better the communities in which we have locations and operate. Causes we support include but are not limited to the well-being of people, education, community improvement and environmental stewardship.

ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION
 
The Company is subject to numerous foreign, federal, state, and local regulations relating to air and water quality, the disposal of hazardous waste materials, safety and health. Compliance with applicable environmental regulations has not significantly changed the Company’s competitive position, capital spending or earnings in the past and the Company does not presently anticipate that compliance with such regulations will change its competitive position, capital spending or earnings for the foreseeable future.
 
The Company believes that it is currently in compliance in all material respects with applicable environmental laws and regulations.

Littelfuse GmbH, which was acquired by the Company in May 2004, is responsible for maintaining closed coal mines in Germany from legacy operations. The Company is compliant with German regulations pertaining to the maintenance of the mines and has an accrual related to certain of these coal mine shafts based on an engineering study estimating the cost of remediating the dangers (such as a shaft collapse) of certain of these closed coal mine shafts in Germany. The accrual is reviewed annually and calculated based upon the estimated costs of remediating the shafts. Further information regarding the coal mine liability accrual is provided in Note 1, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies and Other Information, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report.

ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS.
 
The Company’s business, financial condition, and results of operations are subject to various risks and uncertainties, including the risk factors it has identified below. Any of the following risk factors could materially and adversely affect the Company’s business, financial condition, or results of operations. These factors are not necessarily listed in order of importance.

1) Operational Risks:
 
The Company’s industry is subject to intense competitive pressures.
 
The Company operates in markets that are highly competitive. The Company competes on the basis of price, product performance and quality, service, and / or brand name across the industries and markets it serves. Competitive pressures could affect the prices the Company is able to charge its customers or demand for its products.
 
The Company may not always be able to compete on price, particularly when compared to manufacturers with lower cost structures. Some of the Company’s competitors have substantially greater sales, financial and manufacturing resources and may have greater access to capital than the Company. As other companies enter its markets or develop new products, competition may further intensify. The Company’s failure to compete effectively could materially adversely affect its business, financial condition, and results of operations.
 
The Company engages in strategic acquisitions and may not realize the anticipated benefits of the acquisitions and / or may encounter difficulties in integrating these businesses.
 
The Company seeks to grow through strategic acquisitions. In the past, the Company has acquired a number of businesses or companies and additional product lines and assets. The Company intends to continue to expand and diversify its operations with additional future acquisitions.
 
An acquired business, technology, service or product could under-perform relative to the Company’s expectations and the price paid for it, or not perform in accordance with the Company’s anticipated timetable. This could cause the Company’s financial results to differ from expectations in any given fiscal period, or over the long term. The success of these transactions also depends on the Company’s ability to integrate the assets, operations, and personnel associated with these acquisitions. The Company may encounter difficulties in integrating acquisitions with the Company’s operations and may not realize the degree or timing of the benefits that are anticipated from an acquisition.
 
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The Company may also discover liabilities or deficiencies associated with the companies or assets it acquires that were not identified in advance, which may result in significant unanticipated costs. The effectiveness of the Company’s due diligence review and its ability to evaluate the results of such due diligence are dependent upon the accuracy and completeness of statements and disclosures made or actions taken by the companies acquired or their representatives, as well as the limited amount of time in which acquisitions are executed. In addition, the Company may fail to accurately forecast the financial impact of an acquisition transaction, including tax and accounting charges. Acquisitions may also result in recording of significant additional expenses to the results of operations and recording of substantial intangible assets on the balance sheet upon closing. Any of these factors may adversely affect the Company’s financial condition and results of operations.

Disruptions in the Company’s manufacturing, supply or distribution chain could result in an adverse impact on results of operations.
 
The Company sources materials and sells product through various global network channels. A disruption could occur within the Company’s manufacturing, distribution or supply chain network. This could include damage or destruction due to various causes including natural disasters or political instability which would cause one or more of these network channels to become non-operational. This could adversely affect the Company’s ability to manufacture or deliver its products in a timely manner, impair its ability to meet customer demand for products and result in lost sales or damage to its reputation. Such a disruption could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations.

The Company may be unable to manufacture and deliver products in a manner that is responsive to its customers’ needs.
 
The end markets for the Company’s products are characterized by technological change, frequent new product introductions and enhancements, changes in customer requirements and emerging industry standards. The introduction of products embodying new technologies and the emergence of new industry standards could render its existing products obsolete and unmarketable before it can recover any or all of its research, development, and commercialization expenses on capital investments. Furthermore, the life cycles of its products may change and are difficult to estimate.

The Company’s future success will depend upon its ability to manufacture and deliver products in a manner that is responsive to its customers’ needs. The Company will need to develop and introduce new products and product enhancements on a timely basis that keep pace with technological developments and emerging industry standards and address increasingly sophisticated requirements of its customers. The Company invests heavily in research and development without knowing tif it will recover these costs. The Company’s competitors may develop products or technologies that will render its products non-competitive or obsolete. If it cannot develop and market new products or product enhancements in a timely and cost-effective manner, its business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.

The Company’s business may be interrupted by labor disputes or other interruptions of supplies.
 
A work stoppage could occur at certain Company facilities, most likely as a result of disputes under collective bargaining agreements or in connection with negotiations of new collective bargaining agreements. In addition, the Company may experience a shortage of supplies for various reasons, such as financial distress, work stoppages, natural disasters, or production difficulties that may affect one of its suppliers. A significant work stoppage, or an interruption or shortage of supplies for any reason, if protracted, could substantially adversely affect the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
Failure to attract and retain qualified personnel could affect the Company’s business results.
 
The Company’s success, both generally and in connection with mergers and acquisitions, depends on the Company’s ability to attract, retain, and motivate a highly-skilled and diverse management team and workforce. Failure to ensure that the Company has the depth and breadth of personnel with the necessary skill set and experience could impede its ability to deliver growth objectives and execute the Company’s strategy. Competition for qualified employees among companies that rely heavily upon engineering and technology is at times intense, and the loss of qualified employees could hinder the Company’s ability to conduct research activities successfully and develop marketable products.
 
The Company may not be successful protecting its intellectual property.
 
The Company considers its intellectual property, including patents, trade names, and trademarks, to be of significant value to its business as a whole. The Company’s products are manufactured, marketed, and sold under a portfolio of patents, trademarks, licenses, and other forms of intellectual property, some of which expire or are allowed to lapse at various dates in the future. The Company develops and acquires new intellectual property on an ongoing basis and considers all of its intellectual property to be valuable. The Company's policy is to file applications and obtain patents for the great majority of its novel and innovative
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new products including product modifications and improvements. Based on the broad scope of its product lines, the Company believes that the loss or expiration of any single intellectual property right would not have a material adverse effect upon its consolidated results of operations, financial position and cash flows; however, multiple losses or expirations could have a material adverse effect upon the Company’s consolidated results of operations, financial position and cash flows.

2) Regulatory Risks:

Changes in U.S. and other countries trade policy, including the imposition of tariffs and the resulting consequences, may have a material adverse impact on our business and results of operations.

In the past few years, the U.S. government adopted a new approach to trade policy and in some cases to renegotiate, or potentially terminate, certain existing bilateral or multi-lateral trade agreements. It also imposed tariffs on certain foreign goods and products. These measures may materially increase costs for goods imported into the United States. This in turn could require us to materially increase prices to our customers which may reduce demand, or, if we do not or are unable to increase prices, could result in lower margins on products sold. Changes in U.S. trade policy have resulted in, and could result in more, U.S. trading partners adopting responsive trade policies making it more difficult or costly for us to export our products to those countries. Additionally, continued geo-political issues may result in customers in China seeking to source products from local suppliers, which could result in lower sales or lost customers.

The Company is exposed to political, economic, and other risks that arise from operating a multinational business.
 
The Company's customers, suppliers, employees and operations are located in numerous countries around the world, and contribute significantly to its revenues and earnings. Sales to customers outside the U.S. constituted approximately 73% of the Company's net sales in fiscal 2020. Many of the Company's key customers are located outside of U.S. and maintain global operations. Serving a global customer base and remaining competitive in the global marketplace requires the Company to diversify its operations outside the U.S. to capitalize on customer and market opportunities, build a global workforce and maintain a cost efficient structure. In addition, the Company sources a significant amount of raw materials, components and finished goods from third-party suppliers and contract manufacturers.  The Company’s operating activities are subject to a number of risks generally associated with multi-national operations, including risks relating to the following:

general economic conditions;
currency fluctuations and exchange restrictions;
import and export duties and restrictions;
the imposition of tariffs and other import or export barriers;
compliance with regulations governing import and export activities;
current and changing regulatory requirements;
political and economic instability;
potentially adverse income tax consequences;
transportation delays and interruptions;
labor unrest;
natural disasters;
terrorist activities;
public health concerns, including the outbreak of the coronavirus;
difficulties in staffing and managing multi-national operations; and
limitations on the Company’s ability to enforce legal rights and remedies.

Any of these factors could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s consolidated results of operations, financial position and cash flows.

The COVID-19 pandemic could have a material adverse effect on our ability to operate, results of operations, financial condition, liquidity, and capital investments.

The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic in 2020, and the virus continues to spread in areas where we operate and sell our products. The COVID-19 pandemic and similar situations/circumstances in the future could have a material adverse effect on our ability to operate, results of operations, financial condition, liquidity, and capital investments. Several public health organizations have recommended, and some local governments have implemented, certain measures to slow and limit the transmission of the virus, including travel restrictions, shelter-in-place requirements and social distancing requirements. Such preventive measures, or others we may voluntarily put in place, may have a material adverse effect on our business for an indefinite period of time, such as the potential shut down of certain locations, decreased employee
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availability, potential increased vulnerability to cybersecurity incidents, including breaches of information systems security due to widespread remote working arrangements, potential border closures, disruptions to the businesses of our original equipment manufacturers ("OEMs") and channel partners, and others. Our suppliers and customers may also face these and other challenges, which could lead to a disruption in our supply chain as well as decreased demand for our products. These issues may also materially affect our future access to our sources of liquidity, particularly our cash flows from operations, financial condition, capitalization, and capital investments. These disruptions may continue to occur and may result in future impairment, restructuring and other charges. To the extent the COVID-19 pandemic adversely affects our business and financial results, it may also have the effect of heightening many of the other risks described in the risk factors disclosed in Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors, including those relating to our products and services, financial performance, debt covenant compliance and debt obligations. The ultimate magnitude of COVID-19, including the extent of its impact on our financial and operational results, which could be material, will be determined by the length of time that the pandemic continues, its effect on the demand for our services, as well as the effect of governmental regulations imposed in response to the pandemic. We cannot at this time predict the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and/or cash flows. 

Environmental liabilities could adversely impact the Company’s financial position.
 
Foreign, federal, state and local laws and regulations impose various restrictions and controls on the discharge of materials, chemicals and gases used in the Company’s manufacturing processes or in its finished goods. These environmental regulations have required the Company to expend a portion of its resources and capital on relevant compliance programs. Under these laws and regulations, the Company could be held financially responsible for remedial measures if its current or former properties are contaminated or if it sends waste to a landfill or recycling facility that becomes contaminated, even if the Company did not cause the contamination. The Company may be subject to additional common law claims if it releases substances that damage or harm third parties. In addition, future changes in environmental laws or regulations may require additional investments in capital equipment or the implementation of additional compliance programs. Any failure to comply with new or existing environmental laws or regulations could subject the Company to significant liabilities and could have a material adverse effect on its consolidated results of operations, financial position and cash flows.
 
In the conduct of manufacturing operations, the Company has handled and does handle materials that are considered hazardous, toxic or volatile under federal, state, and local laws. The risk of accidental release of such materials cannot be completely eliminated. In addition, the Company operates or owns facilities located on or near real property that was formerly owned and operated by others. Certain of these properties were used in ways that involved hazardous materials. Contaminants may migrate from, within or through these properties. These releases or migrations may give rise to claims. Where third parties are responsible for contamination, the third parties may not have funds, or not make funds available when needed, to pay remediation costs imposed upon the Company under environmental laws and regulations.
 
The Company is responsible for the maintenance of discontinued coal mining operations in Germany. The risk of environmental remediation exists, and the Company is in the process of remediating the mines considered to be the most at risk.

3) Financial Risks:
 
Reorganization activities may lead to additional costs and material adverse effects.
 
In the past, the Company has taken actions to restructure and optimize its production and manufacturing capabilities and efficiencies through relocations, consolidations, plant closings or asset sales. In the future, the Company may take additional restructuring actions including the consolidating, closing or selling of additional facilities. These actions could result in impairment charges and various charges for such items as idle capacity, disposition costs and severance costs, in addition to normal or attendant risks and uncertainties. The Company may be unsuccessful in any of its current or future efforts to restructure or consolidate its business. Plans to minimize or eliminate any loss of revenues during restructuring or consolidation may not be achieved. These activities may have a material adverse effect upon the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations. 
 
The Company’s ability to manage currency or commodity price fluctuations or supply shortages is limited.
 
As a resource-intensive manufacturing operation, the Company is exposed to a variety of market and asset risks, including the effects of changes in commodity prices, foreign currency exchange rates, and interest rates. The Company has multiple sources of supply for the majority of its commodity requirements. However, significant shortages that disrupt the supply of raw materials or result in price increases could affect prices the Company charges its customers, its product costs, and the
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competitive position of its products and services. The Company monitors and manages these exposures as an integral part of its overall risk management program, which recognizes the unpredictability of markets and seeks to reduce the potentially adverse effects on its results. Nevertheless, changes in currency exchange rates, commodity prices and interest rates cannot always be predicted. In addition, because of intense price competition and the Company’s high level of fixed costs, it may not be able to address such changes even if they are foreseeable. Substantial changes in these rates and prices could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s results of operations and financial condition. In addition, significant portions of its revenues and earnings are exposed to changes in foreign currency rates. As it operates in multiple foreign currencies, changes in those currencies relative to the U.S. dollar will impact its revenues and expenses. The impact of possible currency devaluation in countries experiencing high inflation rates or significant exchange fluctuations can impact the Company’s results and financial guidance. For additional discussion of interest rate, currency or commodity price risk, see Item 7A, Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk.

The Company’s effective tax rate could materially increase as a consequence of various factors, including U.S. and/or international tax legislation, mix of the Company’s earnings by jurisdiction, and U.S. and non-U.S. jurisdictional tax audits.
 
The Company is subject to taxes in the U.S. and numerous non-U.S. jurisdictions. Therefore, it is subject to changes in tax laws in each of these jurisdictions. Tax legislative proposals have been mentioned by the new U.S. administration that, if enacted, would raise the U.S. corporate income tax rate and result in increases in the taxable income base of U.S. multinational businesses. Certain European jurisdictions, including Germany and the Netherlands, have enacted or will enact tax legislation based upon directives from the European Union. Such legislation could potentially deny tax deductions for certain expenses and/or subject to tax the income earned in certain low tax jurisdictions. The Company’s income tax rate in certain other non-U.S. jurisdictions, including the Philippines, is substantially lower than the U.S. statutory tax rate. Legislative proposals have been made from time to time to reduce the tax benefits in these jurisdictions, in some cases with the tax increase phased in over a multi-year transition period. The Philippines is currently contemplating such legislation, including a relatively long-term transition period. The outcome of these and other legislative developments, including changes to interpretations of recently enacted legislation, could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s future effective tax rate and cash flows.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development is working with a group of more than 100 countries to seek agreement to modify the international tax system during 2021 to address the influence of the digital economy. This effort could result in a significant change to the tax treatment of multinational businesses, subjecting them to tax in additional jurisdictions, modifying the methods by which they allocate profits among jurisdictions, and subjecting them to a global or country by country minimum level of tax. The outcome of this effort could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s effective tax rate and cash flows.
The Company has two subsidiaries in China which benefit from lower tax rates due to “tax holidays” which apply for three-year periods, subject to extension. The tax holiday for one of these subsidiaries expired at the end of 2020, and it will seek an extension. There can be no assurance that such extensions will be granted.
The tax rates applicable in the jurisdictions within which the Company operates vary widely. Therefore, the Company’s effective tax rate may be adversely affected by changes in the mix of its earnings by jurisdiction.
The Company’s tax returns are subject to examination by various U.S. and non-U.S. tax authorities, including the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. The Company regularly assesses the likelihood of an adverse outcome resulting from these examinations to determine the adequacy of its provision for income taxes. However, there can be no assurance as to the outcome of these examinations.
A decline in expected profitability of the Company or individual reporting units of the Company could result in the impairment of assets, including goodwill and other long-lived assets.
 
During 2020, the Company recorded a goodwill impairment charge of $33.8 million in the automotive sensors reporting unit within the Automotive segment and the Company continues to hold material amounts of goodwill and other long-lived assets on its balance sheet. A decline in expected profitability, particularly if there is a decline in the global economy, could call into question the recoverability of the Company’s related goodwill and other long-lived tangible and intangible assets and require the write-down or write-off of these assets. Such an occurrence could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s consolidated results of operations, financial position and cash flows.
 
A significant fluctuation between the U.S. dollar and other currencies could adversely impact the Company's revenue and earnings.
 
Although the Company's financial results are reported in U.S. dollars, the majority of the Company’s operations consist of manufacturing and sales activities in foreign countries. The Company’s most significant net long exposure is to the euro. The
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Company’s most significant net short exposures are to the Chinese renminbi, Mexican peso, and Philippine peso. Changes in foreign exchange rates could have an adverse effect on the Company's results of operations, financial position and cash flows.
 
The Company’s revenues may vary significantly from period to period.
 
The Company’s revenues may vary significantly from one period to another due to a variety of factors including:
 
changes in customers’ buying decisions;
changes in demand for its products;
changes in its distributor inventory stocking;
the Company’s product mix;
the Company’s effectiveness in managing manufacturing processes;
costs and timing of its component purchases;
the effectiveness of its inventory control;
the degree to which it is able to utilize its available manufacturing capacity;
the Company’s ability to meet delivery schedules;
general economic and industry conditions;
local conditions and events that may affect its production volumes, such as labor conditions and political instability; and
seasonality of certain product lines.

The bankruptcy or insolvency of a major customer could adversely affect the Company.
 
The bankruptcy or insolvency of a major customer could result in lower sales revenue and cause a material adverse effect on the Company’s consolidated results of operations, financial position and cash flows. In addition, the bankruptcy or insolvency of a major auto manufacturer or significant supplier likely could lead to substantial disruptions in the automotive supply base, resulting in lower demand for the Company’s products, which would likely cause a decrease in sales revenue and have a substantial adverse impact on the Company’s consolidated results of operations, financial position and cash flows.

The inability to maintain access to capital markets may adversely affect the Company’s business and financial results.
 
The Company’s ability to invest in its businesses, make strategic acquisitions, and refinance maturing debt obligations may require access to the capital markets and sufficient bank credit lines to support short-term borrowings. If the Company is unable to access the capital markets or bank credit facilities, it could experience a material adverse effect on its consolidated results of operations, financial position and cash flows.
 
Fixed costs may reduce operating results if sales fall below expectations.
 
The Company’s expense levels are based, in part, on its expectations for future sales. Many of the Company’s expenses, particularly those relating to capital equipment and manufacturing overhead, are relatively fixed. The Company might not be able to reduce spending quickly enough to compensate for reductions in sales. Accordingly, shortfalls in sales could materially and adversely affect the Company’s consolidated results of operations, financial position and cash flows.
 
The volatility of the Company’s stock price could affect the value of an investment in the Company’s stock and future financial position.
 
The market price of the Company’s stock can fluctuate widely. Between December 28, 2019 and December 26, 2020, the closing sale price of the Company’s common stock ranged between a low of $103.63 and a high of $253.70. The volatility of the stock price may be related to any number of factors, such as volatility in the financial markets, general macroeconomic conditions, industry conditions, market expectations concerning the Company’s results of operations, or the volatility of its revenues as discussed above under “The Company’s Revenues May Vary Significantly from Period to Period.” The historic market price of the Company’s common stock may not be indicative of future market prices. The Company may not be able to sustain or increase the value of its common stock. Declines in the market price of the Company’s stock could adversely affect the Company’s ability to retain personnel with stock incentives, to acquire businesses or assets in exchange for stock and/or to conduct future financing activities with or involving the Company’s common stock.

The Company is exposed to, and may be adversely affected by, potential security breaches or other disruptions to its information technology systems and data security.
 
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The Company relies on its information technology systems and networks in connection with many of its business activities. Some of these networks and systems are managed directly by the Company, while others are managed by third-party service providers and are not under the Company’s direct control. The Company’s operations routinely involve receiving, storing, processing and transmitting sensitive information pertaining to its business, customers, dealers, suppliers, employees, and other sensitive matters. As with most companies, the Company has experienced cyber-attacks, attempts to breach its systems, and other similar incidents, none of which have been material. Any future cyber incidents could, however, materially disrupt operational systems; result in loss of trade secrets or other proprietary or competitively sensitive information; compromise personally identifiable information regarding employees or customers or other third parties; and jeopardize the security of the Company’s facilities. A cyber incident could be caused by malicious outsiders using sophisticated methods to circumvent firewalls, encryption, and other security defenses. Because techniques used to obtain unauthorized access or to sabotage systems change frequently and generally are not recognized until they are launched against a target, the Company may be unable to anticipate these techniques or to implement adequate preventative measures. Information technology security threats, including security breaches, computer malware, and other cyber-attacks are increasing in both frequency and sophistication and could create financial liability, subject the Company to legal or regulatory sanctions or damage the Company’s reputation with customers, dealers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. The Company continuously seeks to maintain a robust program of information security and controls, but the impact of a material information technology event could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s competitive position, reputation, results of operations, financial position and cash flows.
 
Customer demands and regulations related to conflict-free minerals may force the Company to incur additional expenses.
 
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act requires disclosure of use of “conflict” minerals mined from the Democratic Republic of Congo and adjoining countries and efforts to prevent the use of such minerals. In the semiconductor industry, these minerals are most commonly found in metals. As there may be only a limited number of suppliers offering “conflict free” metals, the Company cannot be certain that it will be able to obtain necessary metals in sufficient quantities or at competitive prices. Also, the Company may face challenges with its customers and suppliers if it is unable to sufficiently verify that the metals used in its products are “conflict free.”
  
ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS. 
None.
 

ITEM 2. PROPERTIES. 

The Company’s engineering and research and development, manufacturing, sales, and distribution centers are located in approximately 69 owned or leased facilities worldwide with primary operations in China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom, and the U.S. totaling approximately 3.5 million square feet. The Company’s owned facilities include approximately 1.8 million square feet and the Company’s leased facilities include approximately 1.7 million square feet. The Company’s corporate headquarters is located in the U.S. in Chicago, Illinois.
 
The Company believes its facilities are adequate to meet its requirements for the foreseeable future.
 
ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.
 
The Company is not a party to any material legal proceedings, other than routine litigation incidental to its business.
 
ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES.
 
Not applicable.

Information about our Executive Officers.
 
The executive officers of the Company are as follows:
 
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NameAgePosition
David W. Heinzmann57President and Chief Executive Officer
Meenal A. Sethna51Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Ryan K. Stafford53Executive Vice President, Chief Legal and Human Resources Officer and Corporate Secretary
Matthew J. Cole49Senior Vice President, eMobility and Corporate Strategy
Alexander Conrad55Senior Vice President and General Manager, Passenger Vehicle Business
Deepak Nayar61Senior Vice President and General Manager, Electronics Business
 
David W. Heinzmann, President and Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors. Mr. Heinzmann began his career at Littelfuse in 1985 as a manufacturing engineer and has held positions of increasing responsibility since that time, including Vice President, Global Operations, from 2007 to 2014, and Chief Operating Officer from 2014 until assuming his current position in 2017.
 
Meenal A. Sethna, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Ms. Sethna joined Littelfuse in 2015 as Senior Vice President of Finance until assuming her current position in 2016. Prior to joining Littelfuse, Ms. Sethna served from 2011 to 2015 as Vice President and Corporate Controller of Illinois Tool Works Inc., a diversified manufacturer of specialized industrial equipment, consumables, and related service businesses. Ms. Sethna is a Certified Public Accountant in Illinois.
 
Ryan K. Stafford, Executive Vice President, Chief Legal and Human Resources Officer and Corporate Secretary. Mr. Stafford joined Littelfuse as its first General Counsel in 2007 and became Corporate Secretary in 2017. Prior to joining Littelfuse, Mr. Stafford served in a number of roles at Tyco International Ltd., including Vice President of China Operations and Vice President & General Counsel for its Engineered Products & Services Business Segment.
 
Matthew J. Cole, Senior Vice President, eMobility and Corporate Strategy. Mr. Cole joined Littelfuse in 2015 as Senior Vice President and General Manager, Industrial Business Unit, and in 2019 became Senior Vice President, Business Development and Corporate Strategy until assuming his current position in 2021. Prior to joining Littelfuse, Mr. Cole served from 2009 to 2015 as Vice President and General Manager of the Advanced Measurement Technology division of AMETEK, a global leader in electronic instruments and electromechanical devices.

Alexander Conrad, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Passenger Vehicle Business. Mr. Conrad joined Littelfuse in 2005 as Sales Manager, Germany & Eastern Europe. He then held various positions of increasing responsibility at Littelfuse including Sales Director EMEA; Global Director of Sales; Managing Director, Passenger Car Products from 2013 to 2014; and Vice President, Passenger Car Products, from 2015 until assuming his current position in July 2018.

Deepak Nayar, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Electronics Business. Mr. Nayar joined Littelfuse in 2005 as Business Line Director of the Electronics Business Unit. He then held various positions of increasing responsibility at Littelfuse including Vice President, Global Sales, Electronics Business Unit, and from 2011 until assuming his current position in May 2020, Senior Vice President, Electronics Business Unit.
 
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PART II 

ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS, AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES.
 
 Shares of the Company’s common stock are traded under the symbol “LFUS” on the NASDAQ Global Select MarketSM.
 
Number of Holders
 
As of February 12, 2021, there were 62 holders of record of the Company’s common stock.
 
Dividend Policy
 
The future dividend policy will be determined by the Board of Directors based upon its evaluation of earnings, cash availability, and general business prospects. Currently, there are restrictions on the payment of dividends contained in the Company’s credit agreements that relate to the maintenance of certain financial ratios. However, the Company expects to continue paying cash dividends on a quarterly basis for the foreseeable future.
 
Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities
 
There were no sales of unregistered securities by us or affiliates during the fiscal year ended December 26, 2020.
 

Purchases of Equity Securities
 
On April 26, 2019, the Company announced that the Board of Directors authorized to a program to repurchase up to 1,000,000 shares of the Company's common stock for the period May 1, 2019 to April 30, 2020 ("2019 program"). On April 29, 2020, the Company announced that the Board of Directors authorized a new program to repurchase up to 1,000,000 shares of the Company's common stock for the period May 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021 (the "2020 program") to replace its previous expired 2019 program. During the fiscal year ended December 26, 2020, the Company repurchased 175,110 shares of its common stock totaling $22.9 million, under the 2019 program. There were 324,890 shares available for purchase under the 2019 program that expired on April 30, 2020.

The Company did not repurchase shares of its common stock during the three months ended December 26, 2020. There are 1,000,000 shares remaining available for purchase under the 2020 program as of December 26, 2020.



Stock Performance Graph
 
The following stock performance graph and related information shall not be deemed “soliciting material” or “filed” with the Securities and Exchange Commission, nor shall such information be incorporated by reference into any future filings under the Securities Act of 1933 or Securities Exchange Act of 1934, each as amended, except to the extent that the Company specifically incorporates it by reference into such filing.
 
The following stock performance graph compares the five-year cumulative total return on Littelfuse common stock to the five-year cumulative total returns on the Russell 1000 Index and the Dow Jones Electrical Components and Equipment Industry Group Index. The Company believes that the Russell 1000 Index and the Dow Jones Electrical Components and Equipment Industry Group Index represent a broad market index and peer industry group for total return performance comparison. The stock performance shown on the graph below represents historical stock performance and is not necessarily indicative of future stock price performance. 

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https://cdn.kscope.io/84da4ea33275f3a06e70fe10d31822f3-lfus-20201226_g1.jpg
 12/201512/201612/201712/201812/201912/2020
Littelfuse, Inc.$100 $143 $188 $164 $185 $249 
Russell 1000100 112 136 130 171 206 
Dow Jones US Electrical Components & Equipment100 121 154 135 167 202 
 
The Dow Jones Electrical Components and Equipment Industry Group Index includes the common stock of A. O. Smith Corp.; AAON, Inc.; American Superconductor Corp.; AMETEK, Inc.; Amphenol Corp.; Arrow Electronics, Inc.; Avnet, Inc.; AVX Corp.; Capstone Turbine Corp.; CTS Corp.; General Cable Corp.; Hubbell Inc. Class B; Jabil Circuit, Inc.; Littelfuse, Inc.; Methode Electronics, Inc.; Plexus Corp.; Powerwave Technologies, Inc.; Regal-Beloit Corp.; Vicor Corp.; and Vishay Intertechnology, Inc. 

For Littelfuse, Inc. and all indexes noted above, a $100 investment made on January 2, 2016 and reinvestment of all dividends is assumed. Returns for the Company’s fiscal years presented above are as of the last day of the respective fiscal year which was December 31, 2016, December 30, 2017, December 29, 2018, December 28, 2019, and December 26, 2020 for the fiscal years 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020, respectively.


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ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA.
 
The information presented below provides selected financial data of the Company during the past five fiscal years and should be read in conjunction with Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, and Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data, for the respective years presented:
 
(in thousands, except per share data)20202019201820172016
Net sales$1,445,695 $1,503,873 $1,718,468 $1,221,534 $1,056,159 
Gross profit (1)501,172 546,295 653,415 506,533 415,835 
Operating income162,372 192,791 225,049 218,511 130,644 
Net income129,986 139,082 164,565 119,519 104,488 
Per share of common stock: 
Income from continuing operations 
- Basic5.33 5.66 6.62 5.27 4.63 
- Diluted5.29 5.60 6.52 5.21 4.60 
Cash dividends paid1.92 1.82 1.60 1.40 1.24 
Cash and cash equivalents687,525 531,139 489,733 429,676 275,124 
Total assets2,747,593 2,559,898 2,614,306 1,740,102 1,491,194 
Short-term debt— 10,000 10,000 6,250 6,250 
Long-term debt, less current portion687,034 669,158 684,730 489,361 447,892 
 
(1) The prior year gross profit amounts have been reclassified to reflect a change in classification of certain costs presented on the Company’s Consolidated Statements of Income. See Note 1, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies and Other Information for further information. This reclassification change had no impact on previously reported operating income and net income amounts.

ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS.
 
The following discussion of the Company's financial condition and results of operations should be read together with the Consolidated Financial Statements and notes to those statements included in Item 8 of Part II of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

BUSINESS
 
For a description of the Company’s business, segments and product offerings, see Item 1, Business.
 
2020 EXECUTIVE OVERVIEW

Net sales decreased by $58.2 million, or 3.9%, in 2020 compared to 2019. The decrease was primarily driven by production disruptions during the first half of 2020 due to temporary closures of several of the company’s manufacturing facilities and reduced demand due to customer shutdowns, resulting from government directives due to the impact of COVID-19. This was partially offset by volume increases across all of the company’s businesses in the second half of 2020, led by higher production levels, increased demand from work-from-home and stay-at-home trends, and higher demand in a number of other end markets that the Company sells into, such as passenger vehicles, and $7.7 million or 0.5% of favorable changes in foreign exchange rates. The Company recognized net income of $130.0 million, or $5.29 per diluted share, in 2020 compared to net income of $139.1 million, or $5.60 per diluted share in 2019. The decrease in net income is primarily due to the second quarter goodwill impairment charge of $33.8 million, lower sales in the first half of 2020 driven by COVID-19 production disruptions partially offset by a net increase in foreign exchange gains of $20.1 million and operating expense cost reductions.

The Company continues to take actions to improve its cost structure. The Company expects to realize cost savings from the restructuring activities taken during 2019 and 2020, including the reorganization of certain research and development, selling and administrative functions across all segments. The Company is also in process of several restructuring activities across its manufacturing and supply chain footprint, including the consolidation of a manufacturing facility within the Industrial Segment, which is expected to be completed in the first half of 2021.

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Net cash provided by operating activities was $258.0 million for the year ended December 26, 2020 as compared to $245.3 million for the year ended December 28, 2019. The increase in net cash provided by operating activities was primarily due to lower annual incentive payments and reductions in net working capital partially offset by lower earnings largely due to the impact of COVID-19.   

On April 3, 2020, the Company amended the Credit Agreement to effect certain changes, including, among others: (i) eliminating the $200.0 million unsecured term loan credit facility, the remaining outstanding balance ($140.0 million) of which was repaid in full on April 3, 2020 through the revolving credit facility; (ii) making certain financial and non-financial covenants less restrictive on the Company; (iii) modifying performance-based interest rate margins and undrawn fees; and (iv) extending the maturity date to April 3, 2025. The amended Credit Agreement also allows the Company to increase the size of the revolving credit facility or enter into one or more tranches of term loans if there is no event of default and the Company is in compliance with certain financial covenants. The Company made payments of $110.0 million on the amended revolving credit facility during the fiscal year ended December 26, 2020. The balance under the facility was $130.0 million as of December 26, 2020.

On April 7, 2020, the Company entered into a definitive agreement to purchase a group annuity contract, under which an insurance company will be required to directly pay and administer pension payments to certain of the Company’s UK pension plan participants, or their designated beneficiaries. The purchase of this group annuity contract will reduce the Company’s outstanding pension benefit obligation by approximately $55 million, representing approximately 37% of the total obligations of the Company’s qualified pension plans, and will be funded with pension plan assets and additional cash on hand. In connection with this transaction, the Company will record a one-time non-cash settlement charge in the second half of 2021 currently estimated between $18 million and $22 million, reflecting the accelerated recognition of a portion of unamortized actuarial losses in the plan. The actual settlement charge could differ from this estimate due to final data and plan wind-up expenses.

On January 28, 2021, the Company acquired Hartland Controls, a manufacturer and leading supplier of electrical components used primarily in heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) and other industrial and control systems applications with annualized sales of approximately $70 million. The cash purchase price for Hartland Controls was approximately $113 million and the operations of Hartland Controls will be included in the Industrial segment.

Impact of COVID-19 on Business

The Company continued to manage through the COVID-19 impacts throughout the year, with significant improvement to its financial results in the second half of 2020 compared to the first half of 2020. Our manufacturing facilities generally operated at normal capacity levels during the second half of the year as production disruptions were minimal. The effects from COVID-19 are continuing to drive increased costs, from spending on personal protective equipment ("PPE"), additional personnel and employee transportation costs, and manufacturing inefficiencies, as well as an increase in freight costs for our products due to the transportation capacity constraints across the world. This was partially offset during 2020 by the receipt of cash subsidies from international government COVID-19 relief programs.

The Company’s priorities continue to be first, on our associates, their families and the communities in which we operate; second, our customers; and third, long-term financial health of the company. In an effort to protect the health and safety of our employees, the Company enacted numerous proactive, aggressive actions at its facilities globally in the first quarter of 2020, and implemented a number of safety procedures including hygiene and disinfection protocols, social distancing and wearing PPE. The Company expects these actions will continue for the foreseeable future.

During 2020, governments around the world enacted various measures in an effort to contain COVID-19 and slow its spread. These measures included orders to close all businesses not deemed “essential”, isolate residents to their homes or places of residence, and practice social distancing when engaging in essential activities, which disrupted certain of our operating locations in around the world in the first half of 2020. During the second half of 2020, all of our manufacturing facilities were operational and were generally running at normal capacity levels.

The Company continues to work with customers to meet production requirements for their products, many of which are considered essential, including healthcare and medical devices, transportation, communication and energy infrastructure.

The Company anticipates that the global health crisis caused by COVID-19 may continue to negatively impact its business activity for the foreseeable future. It is currently difficult to estimate the magnitude of the COVID-19 disruption, if future disruptions will occur due to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases and its impact on our employees, customers, suppliers and
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vendors. The Company will continue to actively monitor the situation and may take further actions altering our business operations that we determine are in the best interests of our employees, customers, partners, suppliers, and other stakeholders, or as required by federal, state, or local authorities. It is not clear what the potential effects any such alterations or modifications may have on our business and operations, including the effects on our customers, employees, and prospects, or on our financial results for the fiscal year 2021.

OUTLOOK
 
Vision and Strategy
 
The Company closely collaborates with its customers to design and manufacture innovative and reliable solutions for a safer, connected, and more sustainable world in virtually every market that uses electrical energy; for example, transportation applications like passenger and commercial vehicles, including eMobility, industrial applications like renewables and energy storage, HVAC and industrial automation and safety, motor drives and power conversion, and electronics applications like data centers and telecommunications, medical devices, home and building automation, appliances, and mobile and consumer electronics. Built upon that framework, the secular growth themes of a safer, connected, and more sustainable world, drive increased product content opportunities.
 
The Company’s strategic plan is focused on increasing shareholder value by driving profitable sales growth, earnings per share growth, strong cash flow generation, and deploying capital to drive value creation. The Company pursues the following major strategic initiatives, which are summarized below, along with more specific areas of focus.
 
Strategic Objectives Priorities
Double digit sales growth Grow through increased product content with existing customers and increased market share
  Expand portfolio into new and underpenetrated geographies and end markets
  Increase innovation capabilities and investments
  Expand presence in products and applications that are converging across business segments
  Targeted mergers and acquisitions
    
EPS growth Focus on higher profitability growth opportunities
  Improve operating margins through operational excellence
  Disciplined approach to balancing costs with long-term strategic investments
    
Cash flow and liquidity Disciplined management of working capital
  Deployment of capital consistent with capital allocation priorities
  Mergers and acquisitions that align with strategy and financial metrics
  Grow dividend in line with earnings
  Opportunistic share repurchases
 
The Company’s strategy is to generate profitable sales growth. In order to accomplish this, the Company is focusing on accelerating organic growth by increasing its content and share gains, enhancing technology efforts to drive innovation, capitalizing on cross segment opportunities, and gaining traction in underpenetrated geographies and markets. The Company will continue to make targeted strategic acquisitions that align to its strategy and financial metrics to support new business, products, markets, and technologies while leveraging existing customers and targeting new customers.

Management believes that profitable growth through a combination of organic growth and strategic acquisitions is critical to the Company’s competitiveness, while enhancing value the Company delivers to all of its stakeholders. In addition, the Company continues to implement initiatives across all platforms to enhance productivity while managing its cost structure to align with business conditions, including integration of operations and streamlining administrative and support activities to drive improved operating margins.
 
The Company seeks to deploy its capital consistent with capital allocation priorities. Priorities for capital deployment, over time, include investments to drive increased organic growth, targeted acquisitions that align to the Company’s strategic and financial metrics and returning capital to shareholders through dividends and opportunistic share repurchases.
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The Company has entered the last year of its current five-year growth strategy which is defined below. As such, the Company will host a virtual investor and analyst event on February 23, 2021 to share the specific details of its new five-year strategic plan, which reinforces the Company’s continued commitment to profitable growth building on its achievements from its previous five-year plans.
 
The Company uses several key indicators to gauge progress toward achieving these objectives. These indicators include organic sales growth, operating margins, cash flow from operations and capital expenditures. Through cycles, the Company targets double-digit long-term sales growth, split between 5-7% average annual accelerated organic sales growth and 5-7% average annual accelerated growth from strategic acquisitions, while targeting operating margins between 17% and 19% and double-digit earnings per share growth. Cash flow from operations less capital expenditures is targeted to approximate or exceed net income but in any given year can be significantly impacted by the timing of non-recurring or infrequent expenditures.


Significant Accounting Policies and Critical Estimates
 
Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
 
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. The Company’s most critical accounting policies are those that are most important to the portrayal of its financial condition and results of operations, and which require the Company to make its most difficult and subjective judgments, often as a result of the need to make estimates of matters that are inherently uncertain. The Company has identified the following as its most critical accounting policies and judgments. Although management believes that its estimates and assumptions are reasonable, they are based upon information available when they are made, and therefore, actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions. The Company has reviewed these critical accounting policies and related disclosures with the Audit Committee of its Board of Directors. Significant accounting policies are more fully described in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report.
 
Revenue Recognition
 
On December 31, 2017, the Company adopted new guidance on revenue from contracts with customers using the modified retrospective method. The adoption did not have a significant impact on the Company’s consolidated financial statements.
 
Revenue Disaggregation
 
The following table disaggregates the Company’s revenue by primary business units for the fiscal years ended December 26, 2020 and December 28, 2019: 
 Fiscal Year Ended December 26, 2020
(in thousands)Electronics
Segment
Automotive
Segment
Industrial
Segment
 
Total
Electronics – Semiconductor$522,352 $— $— $522,352 
Electronics – Passive Products and Sensors415,410 — — 415,410 
Passenger Car Products— 200,455 — 200,455 
Commercial Vehicle Products— 101,324 — 101,324 
Automotive Sensors— 93,985 — 93,985 
Industrial Products— — 112,169 112,169 
Total$937,762 $395,764 $112,169 $1,445,695 
 
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 Fiscal Year Ended December 28, 2019
(in thousands)Electronics
Segment
Automotive
Segment
Industrial
Segment
 
Total
Electronics – Semiconductor$539,820 $— $— $539,820 
Electronics – Passive Products and Sensors421,260 — — 421,260 
Passenger Car Products— 218,560 — 218,560 
Commercial Vehicle Products— 111,972 — 111,972 
Automotive Sensors— 98,001 — 98,001 
Industrial Products— — 114,260 114,260 
Total$961,080 $428,533 $114,260 $1,503,873 

During the fourth quarter of 2020, the Company transferred a business previously reported within the Electronics-Semiconductor reporting unit to the Electronics-Passive Products and Sensors reporting units. This transfer aligns with how this business will be managed and is complimentary with existing electronics passive products and sensors and markets into which they sell. The 2019 disaggregated revenue table has been reclassified to reflect this change. This transfer had no impact to the Electronics segment results.

See Note 16, Segment Information, for net sales by segment and countries.
 
Revenue Recognition
 
The Company recognizes revenue on product sales in the period in which the Company satisfies its performance obligation and control of the product is transferred to the customer. The Company’s sales arrangements with customers are predominately short term in nature and generally provide for transfer of control at the time of shipment as this is the point at which title and risk of loss of the product transfers to the customer. At the end of each period, for those shipments where title to the products and the risk of loss and rewards of ownership do not transfer until the product has been received by the customer, the Company adjusts revenues and cost of sales for the delay between the time that the products are shipped and when they are received by the customer. The amount of revenue recorded reflects the consideration to which the Company expects to be entitled in exchange for goods and may include adjustments for customer allowance, rebates and price adjustments. The Company’s sales channels are primarily through direct sales and independent third-party distributors.
 
The Company has elected the practical expedient under Accounting Standards Codification ("ASC") 340-40-25-4 to expense commissions when incurred as the amortization period of the commission asset the Company would have otherwise recognized is less than one year.
 
Revenue and Billing
 
The Company generally accepts orders from customers through receipt of purchase orders or electronic data interchange based on written sales agreements and purchasing contracts. Contract pricing and selling agreement terms are based on market factors, costs, and competition. Pricing is often negotiated as an adjustment (premium or discount) from the Company’s published price lists. The customer is invoiced when the Company’s products are shipped to them in accordance with the terms of the sales agreement. As the Company’s standard payment terms are less than one year, the Company has elected the practical expedient under ASC 606-10-32-18 to not assess whether a contract has a significant financing component. The Company also elected the practical expedient provided in ASC 606-10-25-18B to treat all product shipping and handling activities as fulfillment activities, and therefore recognize the gross revenue associated with the contract, inclusive of any shipping and handling revenue.

Ship and Debit Program
 
Some of the terms of the Company’s sales agreements and normal business conditions provide customers (distributors) the ability to receive price adjustments on products previously shipped and invoiced. This practice is common in the industry and is referred to as a “ship and debit” program. This program allows the distributor to debit the Company for the difference between the distributors’ contracted price and a lower price for specific transactions. Under certain circumstances (usually in a competitive situation or large volume opportunity), a distributor will request authorization for pricing allowances to reduce its price. When the Company approves such a reduction, the distributor is authorized to “debit” its account for the difference between the contracted price and the lower approved price. The Company establishes reserves for this program based on
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historic activity, electronic distributor inventory levels and actual authorizations for the debit and recognizes these debits as a reduction of revenue.

Return to Stock 
 
The Company has a return to stock policy whereby certain customers, with prior authorization from the Company's management, can return previously purchased goods for full or partial credit. The Company establishes an estimated allowance for these returns based on historic activity. Sales revenue and cost of sales are reduced to anticipate estimated returns.
 
Volume Rebates
 
The Company offers volume-based sales incentives to certain customers to encourage greater product sales. If customers achieve their specific quarterly or annual sales targets, they are entitled to rebates. The Company estimates the projected amount of rebates that will be achieved by the customer and recognizes this estimated cost as a reduction to revenue as products are sold.

Allowance for Doubtful Accounts:

The Company currently measures the expected credit losses based on our historical credit loss experience. The Company has not experienced significant recent or historical credit losses and is not forecasting any significant credit losses which would require adjustments to our methodology. If current conditions and supportable forecasts indicate that our historical loss experience is not reasonable and no longer supportable, the Company may adjust its historical credit loss experience and to reflect these conditions and forecasts. The Company regularly analyzes its significant customer accounts and, when the Company becomes aware of a customer’s inability to meet its financial obligations, the Company records a specific reserve for bad debt to reduce the related receivable to the amount the Company reasonably believes is collectible. The Company also analyzes all other customers based on a variety of factors including the length of time the receivables are past due, the financial health of the customer, macroeconomic considerations and historical collection and loss experience. Historically, the allowance for doubtful accounts has been adequate to cover bad debts. If circumstances related to specific customers change, the estimates of the recoverability of receivables could be further adjusted.

Inventory
 
The Company performs regular detailed assessments of inventory, which include a review of, among other factors, demand requirements, product life cycle and development plans, component cost trends, product pricing, shelf life, and quality issues. Based on the analysis, the Company records adjustments to inventory for excess quantities, obsolescence or impairment when appropriate to reflect inventory at net realizable value. Historically, inventory reserves have been adequate to reflect inventory at net realizable value.
 
Goodwill
 
The Company’s methodology for allocating the purchase price of acquisitions is based on established valuation techniques that reflect the consideration of a number of factors, including valuations performed by third-party appraisers when appropriate. Goodwill is measured as the excess of the cost of an acquired entity over the fair value assigned to identifiable assets acquired and liabilities assumed. Based on its current organization structure, the Company has seven reporting units for which cash flows are determinable and to which goodwill has been allocated.
 
The Company annually tests goodwill for impairment on the first day of its fiscal fourth quarter, or more frequently if an event occurs or circumstances change that would more likely than not reduce the fair value of a reporting unit below its carrying value. The Company also performs an interim review for indicators of impairment each quarter to assess whether an interim impairment review is required for any reporting unit. As part of its interim reviews, management analyzes potential changes in the value of individual reporting units based on each reporting unit’s operating results for the period compared to expected results as of the prior year’s annual impairment test. In addition, management considers how other key assumptions, including discount rates and expected long-term growth rates, used in the last annual impairment test, could be impacted by changes in market conditions and economic events.
 
During the second quarter of 2020, the Company recorded a non-cash charge of $33.8 million to recognize the impairment of goodwill in the automotive sensors reporting unit within the Automotive segment. The goodwill impairment charge was due to reductions in the estimated fair value for the automotive sensors reporting unit based on lower expectations for future revenue, profitability and cash flows as compared to the expectations of the 2019 annual goodwill impairment test. These lower future expectations were driven by projected extended declines in end market demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition,
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during the second quarter of 2020, certain customers notified the Company of their decision to delay future programs along with a customer canceling an existing program. As of December 26, 2020, the automotive sensors reporting unit had $9.8 million of remaining goodwill.

Quantitative Assessment for Impairment
 
For the seven reporting units with goodwill, the Company compares the estimated fair value of each reporting unit to its carrying value. If the carrying value of a reporting unit exceeds the estimated fair value, the difference between the estimated fair value and carrying value is recorded as the amount of the goodwill impairment charge. The results of the goodwill impairment test as of September 27, 2020 indicated that the estimated fair values for each of the seven reporting units exceeded their respective carrying values. Accordingly, there were no goodwill impairment charges recorded as part of the Company’s 2020 annual goodwill impairment test.
 
As part of its impairment test for these reporting units, the Company engaged a third-party appraisal firm to assist in the Company’s determination of the estimated fair values. This determination included estimating the fair value of each reporting unit using both the income and market approaches. The income approach requires management to estimate a number of factors for each reporting unit, including projected operating results, economic projections, anticipated future cash flows, discount rates and the allocation of shared or corporate items. The market approach estimates fair values using comparable marketplace fair value data from within a comparable industry grouping. The Company weighted both the income and market approach equally to estimate the concluded fair value of each reporting unit. The determination of fair value requires the Company to make significant estimates and assumptions, which primarily include, but are not limited to: the selection of appropriate peer group companies; control premiums appropriate for acquisitions in which the Company competes; the discount rate; terminal growth rates; and forecasts of revenue, operating income, depreciation and amortization and capital expenditures.
 
Goodwill Impairment Assumptions
 
Although the Company believes its estimates of fair value are reasonable, actual financial results could differ from those estimates due to the inherent uncertainty involved in making such estimates. Changes in assumptions concerning future financial results or other underlying assumptions could have a significant impact on the fair value of the reporting units. Future declines in the overall market value of the Company’s equity may also result in a conclusion that the fair value of one or more reporting units has declined below its carrying value.
 
One measure of the sensitivity of the amount of goodwill impairment charges to key assumptions is the amount by which each reporting unit “passed” (fair value exceeds the carrying value) the goodwill impairment test. All seven of the reporting units passed the goodwill impairment test, with fair values that exceeded the carrying values between 44% and 218% of their respective estimated fair values. As of the most recent annual test conducted on September 27, 2020, the Company noted that the excess of fair value over the carrying value was 218%, 44%, 160%, 137%, 59%, 139%, and 210% for its reporting units: Electronics-Passive Products and Sensors, Electronics-Semiconductor, Passenger Car Products, Commercial Vehicle Products, Automotive Sensors, Relays, and Power Fuse, respectively. Relatively small changes in the Company’s key assumptions would not have resulted in any reporting units failing the goodwill impairment test.
 
Generally, changes in estimates of expected future cash flows would have a similar effect on the estimated fair value of the reporting unit. That is, a 1.0% decrease in estimated annual future cash flows would decrease the estimated fair value of the reporting unit by approximately 1.0%. The estimated long-term net sales growth rate can have a significant impact on the estimated future cash flows, and therefore, the fair value of each reporting unit. A 1.0% decrease in the long-term net sales growth rate would have resulted in no reporting units failing the goodwill impairment test. Of the other key assumptions that impact the estimated fair values, most reporting units have the greatest sensitivity to changes in the estimated discount rate. The estimated discount rate was 10.2% for the Electronics-Passive Products and Sensor and the Electronics-Semiconductor reporting units, 9.2% for the Passenger Car Products and Commercial Vehicle Products reporting units, 11.2% for the Automotive Sensors reporting unit, 12.2% for the Relays reporting unit and 11.2% for the Power Fuse reporting unit. A 1.0% increase in the estimated discount rates would have resulted in no reporting units failing the annual goodwill impairment test. The Company believes that its estimates of future cash flows and discount rates are reasonable, but future changes in the underlying assumptions could differ due to the inherent uncertainty in making such estimates. Additionally, price deterioration or lower volume could have a significant impact on the fair values of the reporting units.
 
Long-Lived Assets
 
The Company evaluates the recoverability of other long-lived assets, including property, plant and equipment and certain identifiable intangible assets, whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value of an asset or asset
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group may not be recoverable. Factors which could trigger an impairment review include significant underperformance relative to historical or projected operating results, significant changes in the manner of use of the assets or the strategy for the overall business, a significant decrease in the market value of the assets or significant negative industry or economic trends. When the Company determines that the carrying value of long-lived assets may not be recoverable based upon the existence of one or more of the indicators, the assets are assessed for impairment based on the estimated future undiscounted cash flows expected to result from the use of the asset and its eventual disposition. If the carrying value of an asset exceeds its estimated future undiscounted cash flows, an impairment loss is recorded for the excess of the asset’s carrying value over its fair value. During the first quarter of 2020, the Company recognized a $2.2 million impairment charge related to the land and building associated with the Company’s announced consolidation of a manufacturing facility within the Industrial segment. For the year-ended December 28, 2019, the Company recognized non-cash impairment charges of $0.3 million for certain machinery and equipment related to the closure of a European manufacturing facility in the automotive sensors business within the Automotive segment.

Environmental Liabilities
 
Environmental liabilities are accrued based on estimates of the probability of potential future environmental exposure. Costs related to on-going maintenance of environmental sites are expensed as incurred. If actual or estimated probable future losses exceed the Company’s recorded liability for such claims, it would record additional charges as other expense during the period in which the actual loss or change in estimate occurred. The Company evaluates its reserve for coal mine remediation annually utilizing a third-party expert.
 
Pension and Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan
 
The Company records annual income and expense amounts relating to its pension and postretirement benefits plans based on calculations which include various actuarial assumptions including discount rates, expected long-term rates of return and compensation increases. The Company reviews its actuarial assumptions on an annual basis as of the fiscal year-end balance sheet date (or more frequently if a significant event requiring remeasurement occurs) and modifies the assumption based on current rates and trends when it is appropriate to do so. The effects of modifications are recognized immediately on the Consolidated Balance Sheets but are generally amortized into operating earnings over future periods, with the deferred amount recorded in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss). The Company believes that the assumptions utilized in recording its obligations under its plans are reasonable based on its experience, market conditions and input from its actuaries and investment advisors. The Company maintains several pension plans in international locations. The expected returns on plan assets and discount rates are determined based on each plan’s investment approach, local interest rates and plan participant profiles. The weighted-average discount rates for the Company’s defined benefit plans primarily in Europe and the Asia-Pacific regions at December 26, 2020 and December 28, 2019 were 1.2% and 2.3%, respectively.

A 50 basis point change in the discount rates at December 26, 2020 would have the following effect on the projected benefit obligation:
 
(in millions)0.5%
Increase
0.5%
Decrease
Projected benefit obligation$(11.3)$12.4 

On April 7, 2020, the Company entered into a definitive agreement to purchase a group annuity contract, under which an insurance company will be required to directly pay and administer pension payments to certain of the Company’s UK pension plan participants, or their designated beneficiaries. The purchase of this group annuity contract will reduce the Company’s outstanding pension benefit obligation by approximately $55 million, representing approximately 37% of the total obligations of the Company’s qualified pension plans, and will be funded with pension plan assets and additional cash on hand. In connection with this transaction, the Company will record a one-time non-cash settlement charge in the second half of 2021 currently estimated between $18 million and $22 million, reflecting the accelerated recognition of a portion of unamortized actuarial losses in the plan. The actual settlement charge could differ from this estimate due to final data and plan wind-up expenses.

Equity-based Compensation
 
Equity-based compensation expense is recorded for stock-option awards and restricted share units based upon the fair values of the awards. The fair value of stock-option awards is estimated at the grant date using the Black-Scholes option pricing model, which includes assumptions for volatility, expected term, risk-free interest rate and dividend yield. Expected volatility is based
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on implied volatilities from traded options on Littelfuse stock, historical volatility of Littelfuse stock and other factors. Historical data is used to estimate employee termination experience and the expected term of the options. The risk-free interest rate is based on the U.S. Treasury yield curve in effect at the time of grant. The Company initiated a quarterly cash dividend in 2010 and expects to continue making cash dividend payments for the foreseeable future. The fair value of restricted share units is determined based on the Company's stock price on the grant date reduced by the present value of expected dividends through the vesting period.
 
Total equity-based compensation expense for all equity compensation plans was $19.1 million, $19.9 million, and $28.2 million in 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively. Further information regarding this expense is provided in Note 12, Stock-Based Compensation, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report.

Income Taxes
 
The Company accounts for income taxes using the asset and liability method. Deferred taxes are recognized for the future effects of temporary differences between financial and income tax reporting using tax rates in effect for the years in which the differences are expected to reverse. The Company recognizes deferred taxes for temporary differences, operating loss carryforwards and tax credit and other tax attribute carryforwards (excluding carryforwards where usage has been determined to be remote). Deferred tax assets are reduced by a valuation allowance if it is more likely than not that some portion, or all, of the deferred tax assets will not be realized. U.S. state and non-U.S. income taxes are provided on the portion of non-U.S. income that is expected to be remitted to the U.S. and be taxable (and non-U.S. income taxes are provided on the portion of non-U.S. income that is expected to be remitted to an upper-tier non-U.S. entity). Deferred tax assets and liabilities are adjusted for the effects of changes in tax laws and rates on the date of enactment.
Deferred income taxes are not provided on the excess of the investment value for financial reporting over the tax basis of investments in those non-U.S. subsidiaries for which such excess is considered to be permanently reinvested in those operations. Management regularly evaluates whether non-U.S. earnings are expected to be permanently reinvested. This evaluation requires judgment about the future operating and liquidity needs of the Company and its non-U.S. subsidiaries. Changes in economic and business conditions, non-U.S. or U.S. tax laws, or the Company’s financial situation could result in changes to these judgments and the need to record additional tax liabilities.
The Company recognizes the tax benefit from an uncertain tax position only if it is more likely than not that the tax position will be sustained on examination by the taxing authorities, based on the technical merits of the position. The tax benefits recognized in the financial statements from such a position are measured based on the largest benefit that has a greater than 50% likelihood of being realized upon ultimate settlement.
On December 22, 2017, the U.S. enacted legislation commonly referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the "Tax Act"). Among other things, the Tax Act reduced the U.S. corporate federal income tax rate from 35% to 21%, added base broadening provisions which limit deductions and address excessive international tax planning, imposed a one-time tax (the “Toll Charge”) on accumulated earnings of certain non-U.S. subsidiaries and enabled repatriation of earnings of non-U.S. subsidiaries free of U.S. federal income tax.
 
In the fourth quarter of 2018, within the measurement period outlined in SEC Staff Accounting Bulletin (“SAB”) No. 118, the Company finalized its estimates of the impact of the Tax Act and recorded a charge of $3.2 million, including $2.3 million for the Toll Charge and $0.9 million for the net impact of other items. In addition, the Company recorded $7.0 million for the Toll Charge associated with IXYS as part of the IXYS acquisition purchase price allocation. This was reflected in the opening balance sheet as an increase to goodwill and other long-term liabilities.

One of the base broadening provisions of the Tax Act is the global intangible low-taxed income provisions ("GILTI"). In accordance with guidance issued by the FASB staff, the Company has adopted an accounting policy to treat any GILTI inclusions as a period cost if and when incurred. Thus, for the fiscal years ended December 26, 2020, December 28, 2019, and December 29, 2018, deferred taxes were computed without consideration of the possible future impact of the GILTI provisions, and any current year impact was recorded as a part of the current portion of income tax expense.
 
Further information regarding income taxes, including a detailed reconciliation of current year activity, is provided in Note 14, Income Taxes, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report.

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

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The Company does not have off-balance sheet arrangements as defined under SEC rules. The Company does not participate in transactions that generate relationships with unconsolidated entities or financial partnerships, such as entities often referred to as structured finance or special purpose entities.

In the financial review that follows, the Company discusses its consolidated results of operations, financial position, cash flows and certain other information. This discussion should be read in conjunction with the Company’s Consolidated Financial Statements and related notes.
 
RESULTS OF OPERATIONS FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 26, 2020 AS COMPARED TO THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 28, 2019 

The fiscal year 2020 included approximately $44.0 million of non-segment charges, of which $2.3 million of charges are acquisition-related and integration charges related to the IXYS acquisition and other contemplated acquisitions. In addition, there were $41.7 million of restructuring, impairment and other charges, primarily related to the goodwill impairment charge of $33.8 million recorded in the second quarter associated with the automotive sensors reporting unit within the Automotive segment, employee termination costs of $5.5 million, $2.2 million of impairment charges recorded in the first quarter associated with the announced consolidation of a manufacturing facility within the Industrial segment and other restructuring charges of $0.2 million. See Note 8, Restructuring, Impairment and Other Charges, for further discussion.

The fiscal year 2019 included approximately $21.9 million of non-segment charges, of which $8.9 million of charges are acquisition-related and integration charges primarily related to the IXYS acquisition and other contemplated acquisitions, and $13.0 million of restructuring charges primarily related to employee termination costs.
 
Fiscal year 2020 also included approximately $14.9 million in foreign currency exchange gains primarily attributable to changes in the value of the Euro, Philippine peso, and Chinese renminbi against the U.S. dollar, while fiscal year 2019 included approximately $5.2 million in foreign currency exchange losses primarily attributable to changes in the value of the Euro, Chinese renminbi, and Japanese yen against the U.S. dollar
 
 Fiscal Year  
(in thousands, except % change)20202019Change% Change
Net sales$1,445,695 $1,503,873 $(58,178)(3.9)%
Cost of sales944,523 957,578 (13,055)(1.4)%
Gross profit501,172 546,295 (45,123)(8.3)%
Operating expenses338,800 353,504 (14,704)(4.2)%
Operating income162,372 192,791 (30,419)(15.8)%
Other income, net(5,083)(583)(4,500)771.9 %
Income before income taxes161,253 165,884 (4,631)(2.8)%
Income taxes31,267 26,802 4,465 16.7 %
Net income129,986 139,082 (9,096)(6.5)%
 
Net Sales
 
Net sales of $1,445.7 million decreased $58.2 million, or 3.9%, for 2020 compared to the prior year primarily due to lower volume in the Automotive and Electronics segments which had net sales decreases of $32.7 million and $23.4 million, respectively, partially offset by $7.7 million or 0.5% of favorable changes in foreign exchange rates. These decreases were primarily driven by the production disruption due to temporary closures of manufacturing facilities resulting from government directives due to the impact of COVID-19 and a decline in global auto production driven by the temporary closures of customer manufacturing facilities during the first half of 2020. These sales declines were partially offset by increases in customer demand for consumer devices for work from home needs and strength in various end market demand across all businesses in the second half of the year. All businesses within the Automotive segment experienced lower sales in 2020 due to the production disruptions in the first half of 2020 mentioned above, which was partially offset in the second half of the year, driven by stronger end market demand.

Cost of Sales

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Cost of sales was $944.5 million, or 65.3% of net sales, in 2020, compared to $957.6 million, or 63.7% of net sales, in 2019. The decrease in cost of sales was primarily due to lower volume in the Electronics and Automotive segments driven by the factors discussed above. As a percent of net sales, cost of sales increased 1.6% driven by higher freight costs of $5.6 million, additional costs associated with government-directed plant shutdowns and supply chain constraints, supplies and other costs due to the impact of COVID-19, and unfavorable product mix.

Gross Profit
 
Gross profit was $501.2 million, or 34.7% of net sales, in 2020, compared to $546.3 million, or 36.3% of net sales, in 2019. The decrease of $45.1 million in gross profit reflected lower volume across all segments driven by the disruption across all segments due to temporary closures of manufacturing facilities in the first half of the year resulting from government directives due to the impact of COVID-19. The decrease in gross margin of 1.6% was primarily from the lower volume mentioned previously, unfavorable price and product mix primarily in the Industrial segment. Additionally, higher freight cost of $5.6 million, costs associated with government-directed plant shutdowns and supply chain constraints, supplies and other costs due to the impact of COVID-19 negatively impacted gross margins.
 
Operating Expenses
 
Total operating expenses were $338.8 million, or 23.4% of net sales, for 2020 compared to $353.5 million, or 23.5% of net sales, for 2019. The decrease in operating expenses of $14.7 million is primarily due to lower research and development expenses of $27.5 million, or 1.7% of net sales, a reduction in discretionary expenses including travel and marketing expenses and a $6.6 million reduction in acquisition-related and integration charges, partially offset by the second quarter goodwill impairment charge of $33.8 million, or 2.3% of net sales, in the automotive sensors reporting unit within the Automotive segment and impairment charges of $2.2 million related to the Company’s first quarter announcement to consolidate a manufacturing facility within the Industrial segment.
 
Operating Income
 
Operating income for 2020 was $162.4 million, a decrease of $30.4 million or 15.8% compared to $192.8 million for 2019. The decrease in operating income is primarily due to lower gross margin across all segments and the $33.8 million goodwill impairment charge noted above partially offset by a reduction in operating expenses described above. Operating margins decreased from 12.8% in 2019 to 11.2% in 2020 primarily driven by the factors mentioned above. The second quarter goodwill impairment charge of $33.8 million negatively impacted the 2020 operating margin by 2.3% which was partially offset by the lower operating expenses and cost reductions noted above.

Income Before Income Taxes
 
Income before income taxes for 2020 was $161.3 million, or 11.2% of net sales compared to $165.9 million, or 11.0% of net sales, for 2019. In addition to the factors impacting comparative results for operating income discussed above, income before income taxes benefited from foreign exchange gains of $14.9 million during the fiscal year ended December 26, 2020 compared to foreign exchange losses of $5.2 million during the fiscal year ended December 28, 2019. Additionally, the increase in other income of $4.5 million was primarily due to the 2019 fiscal year impairment charges of $7.3 million for certain other investments and a $2.6 million loss on the disposal of a business within the Electronics segment and $1.7 million increase in unrealized investment gains associated with our equity investments, partially offset by lower interest income of $2.0 million and a $1.2 million increase in coal mining reserves in 2020 versus 2019.

Income Taxes
 
Income tax expense for 2020 was $31.3 million, or an effective tax rate of 19.4% compared to income tax expense of $26.8 million, or an effective tax rate of 16.2% for 2019. The Company’s tax rates are lower than the applicable U.S. statutory tax rate primarily due to income earned in lower tax jurisdictions, partially offset by the impact of taxes on unremitted earnings, the GILTI tax provisions, and non-U.S. losses and expenses with no tax benefit. Changes in the amount of these items from year to year impact the effective tax rates. In addition, the 2020 income tax expense included the impact of the goodwill impairment charge of $33.8 million that was recorded in the second quarter of 2020, the substantial majority of which related to non-U.S. entities and did not result in a tax benefit, and the 2019 income tax expense included a benefit of $3.3 million from the recognition of previously unrecognized tax benefits (and the reversal of the related accrued interest) due to a lapse in the statute of limitations. The impact of the items discussed above resulted in an increase in the effective tax rate in 2020, as compared to the effective tax rate in 2019. Further information regarding these items is provided in Note 14, Income Taxes, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report.

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Segment Information
 
The Company reports its operations by the following segments: Electronics, Automotive and Industrial. Segment information is described more fully in Note 16, Segment Information, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report.
 
The following table is a summary of the Company’s net sales by segment:
 
 Fiscal Year  
(in millions)20202019Change% Change
Electronics$937.7 $961.1 $(23.4)(2.4)%
Automotive395.8 428.5 (32.7)(7.6)%
Industrial112.2 114.3 (2.1)(1.9)%
Total$1,445.7 $1,503.9 $(58.2)(3.9)%
 

Electronics Segment
 
Net sales for the Electronics segment decreased $23.4 million, or 2.4%, in 2020 compared to 2019 primarily due to declines in net sales for the semiconductor and electronics products businesses of $17.5 million and $5.9 million, respectively, driven by the production disruption due to temporary closures of manufacturing facilities resulting from government directives due to the impact of COVID-19 during the first half of the year. These declines were partially offset by increases in customer demand for consumer devices for work from home needs and strength in various end markets during the second half of the year along with favorable changes in foreign exchange rates of $3.6 million.
 
Automotive Segment
 
Net sales in the Automotive segment decreased $32.7 million, or 7.6%, in 2020 compared to 2019 due to decreased volume in passenger car products, commercial vehicle products, and automotive sensors businesses of $18.1 million, $10.6 million, and $4.0 million, respectively, driven by the production disruption due to temporary closures of manufacturing facilities resulting from government directives due to the impact of COVID-19 and a decline in global auto production driven by the temporary closures of customer manufacturing facilities during the first half of 2020. These sales declines were partially offset by increases in end market demand across all businesses in the second half of 2020 and favorable changes in foreign exchange rates of $4.1 million.

Industrial Segment
 
The Industrial segment net sales decreased slightly by $2.1 million, or 1.9%, in 2020 compared to 2019 primarily due to decreased volume across all businesses driven by the production disruption due to temporary closures of manufacturing facilities resulting from government directives due to the impact of COVID-19 in the first half of 2020, partially offset by the transfer of the temperature sensor product line in the third quarter of 2020 previously reported in the Electronics segment.


Geographic Net Sales Information
 
Net sales by geography represent net sales to customer or distributor locations. The following table is a summary of the Company’s net sales by geography:
 
 Fiscal Year  
(in millions)20202019Change% Change
Asia-Pacific$670.5 $656.8 $13.7 2.1 %
Americas457.8 508.4 (50.6)(10.0)%
Europe317.4 338.7 (21.3)(6.3)%
Total$1,445.7 $1,503.9 $(58.2)(3.9)%
 
Asia-Pacific
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Asia-Pacific net sales increased $13.7 million, or 2.1%, in 2020 compared to 2019. The increase in net sales was primarily due to higher volume in the semiconductor business within the Electronics segment and favorable changes in foreign exchange rates of $2.2 million, partially offset by lower volume in the passenger car products business within the Automotive segment due to the production disruption associated with temporary closures of manufacturing facilities resulting from government directives due to the impact of COVID-19 in the first half of 2020.
 
Americas
 
Net sales in the Americas decreased $50.6 million, or 10.0%, in 2020 compared to 2019 primarily due to lower volume across all segments driven by the production disruption due to temporary closures of manufacturing facilities resulting from government directives due to the impact of COVID-19, the temporary closures of customer manufacturing facilities during the first half of 2020 and unfavorable changes in foreign exchange rates of $0.3 million. These sales declines were partially offset by increases in end market demand across all businesses in the second half of the year.
 
Europe
 
European net sales decreased $21.3 million, or 6.3%, in 2020 compared to 2019. The decrease in net sales was primarily due to lower volume in the semiconductor business within the Electronics segment, lower volume in passenger car products and commercial vehicle products businesses within the Automotive segment driven by the production disruption due to temporary closures of manufacturing facilities resulting from government directives due to the impact of COVID-19 and the temporary closures of customer manufacturing facilities during the first half of 2020, partially offset by increased volume in the second half of 2020 due to higher end market demand in Electronics and Automotive businesses and favorable changes in foreign exchange rates of $5.8 million.



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RESULTS OF OPERATIONS FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 28, 2019 AS COMPARED TO THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 29, 2018
 
The fiscal year 2019 included approximately $21.9 million of non-segment charges, of which $8.9 million of charges are acquisition-related and integration charges primarily related to the IXYS acquisition and other contemplated acquisitions, and $13.0 million of restructuring charges primarily related to employee termination costs. See Note 8, Restructuring, Impairment and Other Charges, for further discussion.

The fiscal year 2018 included approximately $88.7 million of non-segment charges, of which $82.9 million of charges are primarily related to the IXYS acquisition as described in Note 2, Acquisitions and Dispositions, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report. These charges include $36.9 million of purchase accounting inventory step-up charges, $18.7 million in acquisition-related and integration costs primarily related to legal, accounting and other expenses, $12.4 million in backlog amortization costs, $8.3 million of employee termination costs and other restructuring charges, $4.5 million of stock compensation expense recognized immediately upon close for converted IXYS options related to prior service periods, and $2.1 million change in control expense related to IXYS. In addition, there were $5.8 million of employee termination costs, impairment and other restructuring charges and acquisition-related expenses for other contemplated acquisitions, which included charges associated with the exit of the Custom business in the second quarter within the Industrial segment.
Fiscal year 2019 also included approximately $5.2 million in foreign currency exchange losses primarily attributable to changes in the value of the euro, Chinese renminbi, and Japanese Yen against the U.S. dollar, while fiscal year 2018 also included approximately $0.9 million in foreign currency exchange gains primarily attributable to changes in the value of the euro, Mexico peso, Philippine peso and Chinese renminbi against the U.S. dollar.

 Fiscal Year  
(in thousands, except % change)20192018Change% Change
Net sales$1,503,873 $1,718,468 $(214,595)(12.5)%
Cost of sales957,578 1,065,053 (107,475)(10.1)%
Gross profit546,295 653,415 (107,120)(16.4)%
Operating expenses353,504 428,366 (74,862)(17.5)%
Operating income192,791 225,049 (32,258)(14.3)%
Other income, net(583)(1,599)1,016 (63.5)%
Income before income taxes165,884 204,942 (39,058)(19.1)%
Income taxes26,802 40,377 (13,575)(33.6)%
Net income139,082 164,565 (25,483)(15.5)%
 
Net Sales
 
Net sales for 2019 of $1,503.9 million decreased $214.6 million, or 12.5%, compared to the prior year primarily due to lower volume across the Electronics and Automotive segments driven by electronics distribution partners and end customers reducing excess inventories, a decline in global auto production and a decline in global end market demand, and $25.0 million or 1.5% of unfavorable changes in foreign exchange rates.

Cost of Sales

Cost of sales was $957.6 million, or 63.7% of net sales, in 2019, compared to $1,065.0 million, or 62.0% of net sales, in 2018. The $107.5 million decrease in cost of sales is primarily due to lower volume across the Electronics and Automotive segments driven by electronics distribution partners and end customers reducing excess inventories, a decline in global auto production and global end market demand. As a percent of net sales, cost of sales increased 1.7 percentage points driven by unfavorable expense leverage associated with the lower net sales in Electronics and Automotive segments.

Gross Profit
 
Gross profit was $546.3 million, or 36.3% of net sales, in 2019, compared to $653.4 million, or 38.0% of net sales, in 2018. The decrease in gross profit is primarily due to lower volumes across the Electronics and Automotive segments driven by
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electronics distribution partners and end customers reducing excess inventories, a decline in global auto production and a decline in global end market demand, unfavorable price and product mix. In 2018 the IXYS purchase accounting inventory step-up charge of $36.9 million negatively impacted the 2018 gross margin by 2.1%.

Operating Expenses
 
Total operating expenses were $353.5 million, or 23.5% of net sales, for 2019 compared to $428.4 million, or 24.9% of net sales, for 2018. The decrease in operating expenses of $78.8 million was primarily due to lower annual incentive compensation expenses, reduced backlog amortization expense of $12.4 million, lower acquisition-related and integration costs of $11.3 million, global cost saving initiatives, and $4.5 million stock compensation expense and $2.1 million of change in control expense related to the 2018 IXYS acquisition.
 
Operating Income
 
Operating income for 2019 was $192.8 million, a decrease of $32.3 million or 14.3% compared to $225.0 million for 2018. The decrease in operating income is primarily due to lower gross profit across the Electronics and Automotive segments, partially offset by lower operating expenses noted above and the $36.9 million purchase accounting inventory step-up charges in 2018. Operating margins decreased from 13.1% in 2018 to 12.8% in 2019 primarily driven by lower gross profit margin discussed above.
 
Income Before Income Taxes
 
Income before income taxes for 2019 was $165.9 million, or 11.0% of net sales compared to $204.9 million, or 11.9% of net sales, for 2018. In addition to the factors impacting comparative results for operating income discussed above, income before income taxes was unfavorably impacted by foreign exchange losses of $5.2 million during the fiscal year ended December 28, 2019 compared to foreign exchange gains of $0.9 million during the fiscal year ended December 29, 2018, and decreases of $1.0 million in other income primarily due to the impairment charges of $7.3 million for certain other investments and a $2.6 million loss on the disposal of a business within the Electronics segment during the fiscal year 2019, partially offset by unrealized investment gains associated with our equity investments and higher interest income.

Income Taxes
 
Income tax expense for 2019 was $26.8 million, or an effective tax rate of 16.2% compared to income tax expense of $40.4 million, or an effective tax rate of 19.7%, for 2018. The 2019 income tax expense includes a benefit of $3.3 million from the recognition of previously unrecognized tax benefits (and the reversal of the related accrued interest) due to a lapse in the statute of limitations. The 2018 income tax expense includes a charge of $3.2 million associated with finalizing the 2017 provisional reasonable estimate, including $2.3 million for the Toll Charge and $0.9 million for the net impact of other items. Additionally, our tax rates are lower than the applicable U.S. statutory tax rate primarily due to income earned in lower tax jurisdictions, partially offset by the impact of taxes on unremitted earnings, the GILTI tax provisions and non-U.S. losses and expenses with no tax benefit.

Segment Information
 
The Company reports its operations by the following segments: Electronics, Automotive and Industrial. Segment information is described more fully in Note 16, Segment Information, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report.
 
The following table is a summary of the Company’s net sales by segment:
 
 Fiscal Year  
(in millions)20192018Change% Change
Electronics$961.1 $1,124.3 $(163.2)(14.5)%
Automotive428.5 479.8 (51.3)(10.7)%
Industrial114.3 114.4 (0.1)(0.1)%
Total$1,503.9 $1,718.5 $(214.6)(12.5)%

Electronics Segment
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The Electronics segment net sales decreased $163.2 million, or 14.5%, in 2019 compared to 2018 primarily due to lower volume across all businesses due to electronics distribution partners and end customer reducing excess inventories, a decline in global end market demand, and unfavorable changes in foreign exchange rates of $13.5 million.

Automotive Segment
 
Net sales in the Automotive segment decreased $51.3 million, or 10.7%, in 2019 compared to 2018 due to lower volume across all businesses primarily from a decline in global auto production, declines in commercial vehicle end market demand, and unfavorable changes in foreign exchange rates of $10.9 million.


Industrial Segment
 
The Industrial segment net sales decreased slightly by $0.1 million, or 0.1%, in 2019 compared to 2018 primarily due to the exit of the Custom business during the second quarter of 2018 and unfavorable changes in foreign exchange rates of $0.6 million, partially offset by higher volume across all businesses..

Geographic Net Sales Information
 
Net sales by geography represent net sales to customer or distributor locations. The following table is a summary of the Company’s net sales by geography:
 
 Fiscal Year  
(in millions)20192018Change% Change
Asia-Pacific$656.8 $753.3 $(96.5)(12.8)%
Americas508.4 578.6 (70.2)(12.1)%
Europe338.7 386.6 (47.9)(12.4)%
Total$1,503.9 $1,718.5 $(214.6)(12.5)%
 
Asia-Pacific
 
Asia-Pacific net sales decreased $96.5 million, or 12.8%, in 2019 compared to 2018. The decrease in net sales was primarily due to lower volume across all businesses within the Electronics segment and the Automotive segment, and unfavorable changes in foreign exchange rates of $6.8 million.

Americas
 
Net sales in the Americas decreased $70.2 million, or 12.1%, in 2019 compared to 2018 primarily due to lower volume across all businesses within the Electronics segment and the Automotive segment, the exit of the Custom business within Industrial segment during the second quarter of 2018 and unfavorable changes in foreign exchange rates of $0.8 million, partially offset by higher volume in the power fuse and relay business within Industrial segments.
 
Europe
 
European net sales decreased $47.8 million, or 12.4%, in 2019 compared to 2018. The decrease in net sales was primarily due to lower volume across all businesses within the Electronics segment and the Automotive segment, and unfavorable changes in foreign exchange rates of $17.4 million, partially offset by higher volume in the power fuse business within the Industrial segment. 


Liquidity and Capital Resources
 
Cash and cash equivalents were $687.5 million as of December 26, 2020, an increase of $156.4 million as compared to December 28, 2019.
 
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As of December 26, 2020, $352.8 million of the Company's $687.5 million cash and cash equivalents was held by non-U.S. subsidiaries. Of the $352.8 million, at least $147.4 million can be repatriated with minimal tax consequences, although in certain cases a non-U.S. withholding tax would be payable but subsequently refunded. With respect to the remaining $205.4 million, the Company has recognized deferred tax liabilities on approximately $113.3 million as of December 26, 2020 because the amounts are not considered to be permanently reinvested, and the Company may access additional amounts through loans and other means. Repatriation of some non-U.S. cash balances is restricted by local laws. Management regularly evaluates whether foreign earnings are expected to be permanently reinvested. This evaluation requires judgment about the future operating and liquidity needs of the Company and its foreign subsidiaries. Changes in economic and business conditions, non-U.S. or U.S. tax laws could result in changes to these judgments and the need to record additional tax liabilities.

The Company has historically supported its liquidity needs through cash flows from operations. Management expects that the Company’s (i) current level of cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities, (ii) current and forecasted cash flows from operations, (iii) availability under existing funding arrangements, and (iv) access to capital in the capital markets will provide sufficient funds to support the Company’s operations, capital expenditures, investments, and debt obligations on both a short-term and long-term basis.
 
Revolving Credit Facility/Term Loan
 
On March 4, 2016, the Company entered into a five-year credit agreement (“Credit Agreement”) with a group of lenders for up to $700.0 million. The Credit Agreement consisted of an unsecured revolving credit facility (“Revolving Credit Facility”) of $575.0 million and an unsecured term loan credit facility (“Term Loan”) of up to $125.0 million. In addition, the Company had the ability, from time to time, to increase the size of the Revolving Credit Facility and the Term Loan by up to an additional $150.0 million, in the aggregate, in each case in minimum increments of $25.0 million, subject to certain conditions and the agreement of participating lenders.
 
On October 13, 2017, the Company amended the Credit Agreement to increase the Revolving Credit Facility from $575.0 million to $700.0 million and increase the Term Loan from $125.0 million to $200.0 million and to extend the expiration date from March 4, 2021 to October 13, 2022. The Credit Agreement also includes the option for the Company to increase the size of the Revolving Credit Facility and the Term Loan by up to an additional $300.0 million, in the aggregate, subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions set forth in the Credit Agreement. Term Loans may be made in up to two advances. The first advance of $125.0 million occurred on October 13, 2017 and the second advance of $75.0 million occurred on January 16, 2018. For the Term Loan, the Company was required to make quarterly principal payments of 1.25% of the original term loan ($2.5 million quarterly) through maturity, with the remaining balance due on October 13, 2022. The Company paid $5.0 million of principal payments on the term loan before the Company amended the Credit Agreement on April 3, 2020 as discussed below.

On March 25, 2020, the company borrowed $100.0 million from the revolving credit facility to preserve financial flexibility and enhance liquidity, given the increasing levels of uncertainty related to COVID-19.

On April 3, 2020, the Company amended the Credit Agreement to effect certain changes, including, among others: (i) eliminating the $200.0 million unsecured term loan credit facility, the remaining outstanding balance ($140.0 million) of which was repaid in full on April 3, 2020 through the revolving credit facility; (ii) making certain financial and non-financial covenants less restrictive on the Company; (iii) modifying performance-based interest rate margins and undrawn fees; and (iv) extending the maturity date to April 3, 2025. The amended Credit Agreement also allows the Company to increase the size of the revolving credit facility or enter into one or more tranches of term loans if there is no event of default and the Company is in compliance with certain financial covenants. The Company made payments of $110.0 million on the amended revolving credit facility during the fiscal year ended December 26, 2020. The balance under the facility was $130.0 million as of December 26, 2020.

Outstanding borrowings under the Credit Agreement bear interest, at the Company’s option, at either LIBOR fixed for interest periods of one, two, three or six-month periods plus 1.25% to 2.00%, or at the bank’s Base Rate, as defined, plus 0.25% to 1.00%, based upon the Company’s Consolidated Leverage Ratio, as defined. The Company is also required to pay commitment fees on unused portions of the credit agreement ranging from 0.125% to 0.20%, based on the Consolidated Leverage Ratio, as defined in the agreement. The credit agreement includes representations, covenants and events of default that are customary for financing transactions of this nature. The effective interest rate on outstanding borrowings under the credit facility was 1.65% at December 26, 2020.
 
As of December 26, 2020, the Company had no amounts outstanding in letters of credit and had available $383.5 million of borrowing capacity under the Revolving Credit Facility.
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Senior Notes
 
On December 8, 2016, the Company entered into a Note Purchase Agreement, pursuant to which the Company issued and sold €212 million aggregate principal amount of senior notes in two series. The funding date for the Euro denominated senior notes occurred on December 8, 2016 for €117 million in aggregate amount of 1.14% Senior Notes, Series A, due December 8, 2023 (“Euro Senior Notes, Series A due 2023”), and €95 million in aggregate amount of 1.83% Senior Notes, Series B due December 8, 2028 (“Euro Senior Notes, Series B due 2028”) (together, the “Euro Senior Notes”). Interest on the Euro Senior Notes is payable semiannually on June 8 and December 8, commencing June 8, 2017.
 
On December 8, 2016, the Company entered into a Note Purchase Agreement, pursuant to which the Company issued and sold $125 million aggregate principal amount of senior notes in two series. On February 15, 2017, $25 million in aggregate principal amount of 3.03% Senior Notes, Series A, due February 15, 2022 (“U.S. Senior Notes, Series A due 2022”), and $100 million in aggregate principal amount of 3.74% Senior Notes, Series B, due February 15, 2027 (“U.S. Senior Notes, Series B due 2027”) (together, the “U.S. Senior Notes due 2022 and 2027”) were funded. Interest on the U.S. Senior Notes due 2022 and 2027 is payable semiannually on February 15 and August 15, commencing August 15, 2017.
 
On November 15, 2017, the Company entered into a Note Purchase Agreement pursuant to which the Company issued and sold $175 million in aggregate principal amount of senior notes in two series. On January 16, 2018, $50 million aggregate principal amount of 3.48% Senior Notes, Series A, due February 15, 2025 (“U.S. Senior Notes, Series A due 2025”) and $125 million in aggregate principal amount of 3.78% Senior Notes, Series B, due February 15, 2030 (“U.S. Senior Notes, Series B due 2030”) (together, the “U.S. Senior Notes due 2025 and 2030” and with the Euro Senior Notes and the U.S. Senior Notes due 2022 and 2027, the “Senior Notes”) were funded. Interest on the U.S. Senior Notes due 2025 and 2030 is payable semiannually on February 15 and August 15, commencing August 15, 2018.
 
The Company was in compliance with its debt covenants as of December 26, 2020 and expects to remain in compliance based on management’s estimates of operating and financial results for 2020 and the foreseeable future. As of December 26, 2020, the Company met all the conditions required to borrow under the Credit Agreement and management expects the Company to continue to meet the applicable borrowing conditions.
 
Acquisitions

On January 28, 2021, the Company acquired Hartland Controls, a manufacturer and leading supplier of electrical components used primarily in heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) and other industrial and control systems applications with annualized sales of approximately $70 million. The cash purchase price for Hartland Controls was approximately $113 million and the operations of Hartland Controls will be included in the Industrial segment. The Company funded the acquisition with cash on hand.

During the year ended December 29, 2018, the Company paid $306.5 million, net of cash acquired, for the acquisition of IXYS. Pursuant to the Securities Purchase Agreement, the Company paid $9.0 million for the acquisition of the remaining 38% outstanding common stock of Monolith during the year ended December 29, 2018. The Company financed the cash portion of the IXYS acquisition with a combination of cash on hand and borrowings under the Senior Notes and credit facility.
 
Cash Flow Overview
 
Operating cash inflows are largely attributable to sales of the Company’s products. Operating cash outflows are largely attributable to recurring expenditures for raw materials, labor, rent, interest, taxes and other operating activities.
 
The following describes the Company’s cash flows for the twelve months ended December 26, 2020 and December 28, 2019:
 
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 Fiscal Year
(in millions)20202019
Net cash provided by operating activities$258.0 $245.3 
Net cash used in investing activities(51.4)(56.4)
Net cash used in financing activities(67.8)(146.3)
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents17.6 (1.2)
Increase in cash and cash equivalents156.4 41.4 
Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of year531.1 489.7 
Cash and cash equivalents at end of year$687.5 $531.1 
 
Cash Flow from Operating Activities

Net cash provided by operating activities was $258.0 million for 2020, compared to $245.3 million during 2019. The increase in net cash provided by operating activities was primarily due to lower annual incentive payments and favorable changes in net working capital partially offset by lower earnings largely due to the impact of COVID-19.

Cash Flow from Investing Activities
 
Net cash used in investing activities was $51.4 million for 2020, compared to $56.4 million during 2019. Capital expenditures were $56.2 million, representing a decrease of $5.7 million compared to 2019. The Company also received proceeds of $4.8 million and $6.2 million, respectively, in 2020 and 2019 primarily as a result of the sale of properties within the Industrial segment.
 
Cash Flow from Financing Activities
 
Net cash used in financing activities was $67.8 million for 2020 compared to $146.3 million for 2019. The Company made principal payments of $5.0 million and $10.0 million on the term loan during fiscal year 2020 and 2019, respectively. During fiscal year 2020, the company borrowed $100.0 million from its revolving credit facility to preserve financial flexibility and enhance liquidity, given the increasing levels of uncertainty related to COVID-19. On April 3, 2020, the Company amended the Credit Agreement to eliminate the $200.0 million unsecured term loan credit facility, with the remaining outstanding balance of $140.0 million repaid in full on April 3, 2020 through a new borrowing of $140.0 million under the recently amended revolving credit facility. The Company made payments of $110.0 million on the amended revolving credit facility during the fiscal year 2020. The balance under the facility was $130.0 million as of December 26, 2020.

For the fiscal year 2020 and 2019, the Company repurchased 175,110 and 579,916 shares of its common stock totaling $22.9 million and $95.0 million, respectively, but made payments of $99.4 million related to settled share repurchases during the fiscal year 2019. Additionally, dividends paid increased $2.2 million from $44.7 million for the fiscal year 2019 to $46.8 million for the fiscal year 2020.
 
The following describes the Company’s cash flows for the twelve months ended December 28, 2019 and December 29, 2018:
 
 Fiscal Year
(in millions)20192018
Net cash provided by operating activities$245.3 $331.8 
Net cash used in investing activities(56.4)(382.3)
Net cash (used in) provided by financing activities(146.3)121.9 
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents(1.2)(11.4)
Increase in cash and cash equivalents41.4 60.0 
Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of year489.7 429.7 
Cash and cash equivalents at end of year$531.1 $489.7 
 
Cash Flow from Operating Activities

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Net cash provided by operating activities was $245.3 million for 2019, compared to $331.8 million during 2018. The decrease in net cash provided by operating activities was primarily driven by lower earnings and higher working capital levels primarily due to the timing of supplier payments, payroll year-end cut off and higher annual incentive compensation payments in 2019.

Cash Flow from Investing Activities
 
Net cash used in investing activities was $56.4 million for 2019, compared to $382.3 million during 2019. Net cash used for the acquisition of IXYS was $306.5 million and $9.0 million for the acquisition of the remaining 38% outstanding common stock of Monolith in 2018. Capital expenditures were $61.9 million, representing a decrease of $12.9 million compared to 2018. The Company also received proceeds of $6.2 million in 2019 primarily as a result of the sale of a property within the Industrial segment.
 
Cash Flow from Financing Activities
 
Net cash used in financing activities was $146.3 million for 2019 compared to net cash provided by financing activities of $121.9 million for 2018. The Company repurchased 579,916 shares of its common stock during fiscal 2019 totaling $95.0 million, but made payments of $99.4 million related to settled share repurchases. The Company made payments of $10.0 million on the term loan in 2019 as compared to $310.0 million of proceeds from the credit facility, term loan and senior notes payable and $102.5 million of payments on the credit facility and term loan during 2018.

Contractual Obligations and Commitments
 
The following table summarizes outstanding contractual obligations and commitments as of December 26, 2020:
 
Payments Due By Period
(in thousands)TotalLess than
1 Year
1 to 3
Years
3 to 5
Years
Greater
than
5 Years
Long-term debt(a)
$691,148 $— $170,298 $180,000 $340,850 
Interest payments(b)
100,473 16,048 30,806 24,639 28,980 
Operating lease payments(c)
21,688 7,660 10,114 3,612 302 
Income Tax Obligation(d)
23,754 3,000 7,579 13,175 — 
Purchase obligations(e)
18,214 15,089 1,008 1,008 1,109 
Total$855,277 $41,797 $219,805 $222,434 $371,241 
 
(a)Excludes offsetting issuance costs of $4.1 million. Euro denominated debt amounts are converted based on the Euro to U.S. Dollar spot rate at year end. For more information see Note 9, Debt, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

(b)Amounts represent estimated contractual interest payments on outstanding debt. Rates in effect as of December 26, 2020 are used for variable rate debt. For more information see Note 9, Debt, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

(c)For more information see Note 7, Lease Commitments, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

(d)The Income Tax Obligation represents the remaining amounts payable regarding the 2017 Littelfuse Toll Charge. The Company has elected to pay the 2017 Littelfuse Toll Charge over the eight-year period prescribed by the Tax Act. For more information see Note 14, Income Taxes, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

(e)Purchase obligations include purchase commitments and commitments for capital expenditures not recognized in the Company’s Consolidated Balance Sheets.

In addition to the above contractual obligations and commitments, the Company had the following obligations at December 26, 2020: 

The Company has Company-sponsored defined benefit pension plans covering employees at various non-U.S. subsidiaries including the U.K., Germany, the Philippines, China, Japan, Mexico, Italy and France. At December 26, 2020, the Company
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had a net unfunded status of $48.5 million. The Company expects to make approximately $2.2 million of contributions to the plans in 2021. For additional information, see Note 11, Benefit Plans, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
 
Dividends
 
Cash dividends paid totaled $46.8 million, $44.7 million and $40.0 million for 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively. On January 21, 2021, the Board of Directors of the Company declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.48 per share, payable on March 4, 2021 to stockholders of record as of February 18, 2021.
Capital Resources
 
The Company expends capital to support its operating and strategic plans. Such expenditures include strategic acquisitions, investments to maintain capital assets, develop new products or improve existing products, and to enhance capacity or productivity. Many of the associated projects have long lead-times and require commitments in advance of actual spending.
 
Share Repurchase Program

The Company’s Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of up to 1,000,000 shares of the Company’s common stock under a program for the period May 1, 2018 to April 30, 2019 ("2018 program"). On April 26, 2019, the Company's Board of Directors authorized to a program to repurchase up to 1,000,000 shares of the Company's common stock for the period May 1, 2019 to April 30, 2020 ("2019 program") to replace its previous expired 2018 program. On April 23, 2020, the Company's Board of Directors authorized a new program to repurchase up to 1,000,000 shares of the Company's common stock for the period May 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021 (the "2020 program") to replace its previous expired 2019 program. There are 1,000,000 shares remaining available for purchase under the 2020 program as of December 26, 2020.

During the fiscal year 2020, 2019, and 2018, the Company repurchased 175,110, 579,916, and 391,972 shares of its common stock totaling $22.9 million, $95.0 million, and $67.9 million, respectively.

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
 
As of December 26, 2020, the Company did not have any off-balance sheet arrangements, as defined under SEC rules. Specifically, the Company was not liable for guarantees of indebtedness owed by third parties, the Company was not directly liable for the debt of any unconsolidated entity and the Company did not have any retained or contingent interest in assets. The Company does not participate in transactions that generate relationships with unconsolidated entities or financial partnerships, such as entities often referred to as structured finance or special purpose entities.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements
 
Recently issued accounting standards and their estimated effect on the Company’s Consolidated Financial Statements are described in Note 1, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies and Other Information, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.


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ITEM 7A. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK.
 
The Company is exposed to market risk from changes in interest rates, foreign exchange rates and commodity prices.
 
Interest Rates Risk
 
During fiscal year 2020, the company borrowed $100.0 million from its revolving credit facility to preserve financial flexibility and enhance liquidity, given the increasing levels of uncertainty related to COVID-19. On April 3, 2020, the Company amended the Credit Agreement to eliminate the $200.0 million unsecured term loan credit facility, with the remaining outstanding balance of $140.0 million repaid in full on April 3, 2020 through a new borrowing of $140.0 million under the recently amended revolving credit facility. The Company made payments of $110.0 million on the amended revolving credit facility during the fiscal year 2020. The balance under the facility was $130.0 million as of December 26, 2020. With variable interest rates, the Company is subject to future interest rate fluctuations in relation to these borrowings which could potentially have a negative impact on cash flows of the Company. A prospective increase of 100 basis points in the interest rate applicable to the Company’s outstanding borrowings under its credit facility would result in an increase of approximately $1.3 million in annual interest expense. This exposure would be partially if not fully offset by higher interest income from the Company's investments. The Company is not party to any currency exchange or interest rate protection agreements as of December 26, 2020.
 
Foreign Exchange Rate Risk
 
The majority of the company’s operations consist of manufacturing and sales activities in foreign countries. The Company has operations in China, Germany, Mexico, Philippines, United Kingdom, Japan, Lithuania, Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, and the U.S. During 2020, sales to customers outside the U.S. were approximately 73% of total net sales. During 2019, sales to customers outside the U.S. were approximately 71% of total net sales. Substantially all sales in Europe are denominated in euros and substantially all sales in the Asia-Pacific region are denominated in U.S. dollars, Chinese renminbi, Japanese yen, or Korean won.
 
The company’s foreign exchange exposures result primarily from inter-company loans, external borrowings, sale of products in foreign currencies, foreign currency denominated purchases, employee-related and other costs of running operations in foreign countries. The company’s most significant foreign currency exposures are to the euro, the Chinese renminbi, Mexican peso, and Philippine peso. Changes in foreign exchange rates could affect the company’s sales, costs, balance sheet values and earnings.
 
At December 26, 2020, the net value of the Company’s assets with exposure to foreign currency risk was approximately $147 million, with the largest exposure being a Japanese yen denominated inter-company loan with a Euro functional currency subsidiary. The reduction in earnings from a hypothetical instantaneous 10% adverse change in quoted foreign currency spot rates applied to foreign currency sensitive asset instruments would be $15 million at December 26, 2020. At December 26, 2020, the net value of the Company’s liabilities with exposure to foreign currency risk was $438 million, with the largest exposure being U.S. Dollar denominated inter-company loans with a Euro functional currency subsidiary. The reduction in earnings from a hypothetical instantaneous 10% adverse change in quoted foreign currency spot rates applied to foreign currency sensitive liability instruments would be $44 million at December 26, 2020. As a result of the mix in currencies impacting the hypothetical 10% changes, the movements in some instruments would offset movements in other instruments reducing the hypothetical exposure to the Company.
 
Commodity Price Risk
 
The Company uses various metals in the manufacturing of its products, including copper, zinc, tin, gold, and silver. Prices of these commodities can rise and result in materially higher costs of producing our products. The Company believes it has adequate primary and secondary sources of supply for each of our key materials and that, in periods of rising prices, the Company expects to recover a majority of the increased cost in the form of higher selling prices. However, recoveries typically lag the effect of cost increases due to the nature of our markets.
 
The cost of oil has fluctuated dramatically over the past several years. Consequently, there is a risk that a return to high prices for oil and electricity in 2021 could have a significant impact on the Company’s transportation and utility expenses. Also due to the impact from COVID-19, freight costs increased significantly in 2020. While the Company is exposed to significant changes in certain commodity prices and expects higher freight costs for most of 2021, the Company actively monitors these exposures and may take various actions from time to time to mitigate any negative impacts of these exposures. 
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ITEM 8. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA.
 
IndexPage
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
 
 
Board of Directors and Shareholders
 
Littelfuse, Inc.
 

Opinion on the financial statements
We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Littelfuse, Inc. (a Delaware corporation) and subsidiaries (the “Company”) as of December 26, 2020 and December 28, 2019, the related consolidated statements of net income, comprehensive income, equity, and cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 26, 2020, and the related notes and financial statement schedule included under Item 15(a) (collectively referred to as the “financial statements”). In our opinion, the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 26, 2020 and December 28, 2019, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 26, 2020, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.
 
We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (“PCAOB”), the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 26, 2020, based on criteria established in the 2013 Internal Control—Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (“COSO”), and our report dated February 18, 2021, expressed an unqualified opinion.

Basis for opinion
These financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
 
We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.

Critical audit matter
The critical audit matter communicated below is a matter arising from the current period audit of the financial statements that was communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that: (1) relates to accounts or disclosures that are material to the financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective, or complex judgments. The communication of critical audit matters does not alter in any way our opinion on the financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matter below, providing a separate opinion on the critical audit matter or on the accounts or disclosures to which it relates.

Goodwill Impairment Analysis – Automotive Sensors and Electronics - Semiconductor reporting units

The Company’s consolidated goodwill balance was $816.8 million as of December 26, 2020. The Company tests for impairment by comparing the estimated fair value of each reporting unit to its carrying value. If the carrying value exceeds its estimated fair value, a goodwill impairment loss is recorded for the difference. The Company recognized a non-cash impairment loss of $33.8 million related to the Automotive Sensors reporting unit during the year ended December 26, 2020.
We identified the goodwill impairment analysis for the Automotive Sensors and Electronic - Semiconductor reporting units as a critical audit matter because management’s goodwill impairment test involved a high degree of auditor judgment due to the significant estimation required to determine the fair value of each reporting unit. In particular, the fair value estimate was sensitive to significant assumptions, such as forecasted revenues and cash flows, discount rates, and estimated valuation multiples.

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Our audit procedures related to the goodwill impairment analysis of the Automotive Sensors and Electronic - Semiconductor reporting units included the following, among others. We tested the design and operating effectiveness of controls over the Company's goodwill impairment assessment process, including review of the valuation model and significant assumptions used. We tested the forecasted revenues and cash flows by assessing the reasonableness of management’s forecasts compared to current results and forecasted industry trends. With the assistance of our valuation specialists, we assessed the discount rates by developing a range of independent estimates and comparing those to the rates selected by management. We also involved our valuation specialists to evaluate the assumptions used in applying the market approach, including evaluating the reasonableness of estimated valuation multiples.

 
 
 
/s/ GRANT THORNTON LLP
 
We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2014.
 
 
Southfield, Michigan
February 18, 2021


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Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
 
 
Board of Directors and Shareholders
 
Littelfuse, Inc.
 
 
Opinion on internal control over financial reporting
We have audited the internal control over financial reporting of Littelfuse, Inc. (a Delaware corporation) and subsidiaries (the “Company”) as of December 26, 2020, based on criteria established in the 2013 Internal Control—Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission ("COSO"). In our opinion, the Company maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 26, 2020, based on criteria established in the 2013 Internal Control—Integrated Framework issued by COSO.
 
We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (“PCAOB”), the consolidated financial statements of the Company as of and for the year ended December 26, 2020, and our report dated February 18, 2021 expressed an unqualified opinion on those financial statements.
 
Basis for opinion
The Company’s management is responsible for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in the accompanying Management’s Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting (“Management’s Report”). Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting based on our audit. We are a public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
 
We conducted our audit in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects. Our audit included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk, and performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.
 
Definition and limitations of internal control over financial reporting
A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (2) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (3) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.

Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.

/s/ GRANT THORNTON LLP
Southfield, Michigan
February 18, 2021
 

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LITTELFUSE, INC.
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
 
(in thousands, except share and per share data)December 26, 2020December 28, 2019
ASSETS  
Current assets:  
Cash and cash equivalents$687,525 $531,139 
Short-term investments54 44 
Trade receivables, less allowances of $45,237 and $